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Brucellosis of the European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)

Gyuranecz, M., Erdélyi, K., Makrai, L., Fodor, L., Szépe, B., Mészáros, Á. Ráczné, Dán, A., Dencső, L., Fassang, E., Szeredi, L.
Journal of comparative pathology 2011 v.145 no.1 pp. 1-5
Brucella melitensis biovar Suis, Francisella tularensis, Lepus, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, antigens, antiserum, brucellosis, cross reaction, diagnostic techniques, hares, kidneys, laboratory techniques, liver, lungs, mice, necrosis, spleen, uterus
The European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is an important reservoir of Brucella suis biovar 2 and also of the life-threatening zoonotic agent Francisella tularensis. Since both bacteria can produce similar gross pathological lesions in this species, laboratory tests are necessary for the final diagnosis. The aim of the present study was to develop an immunohistochemical method for the detection of B. suis infection and to describe the pathological and histological lesions caused by B. suis in European brown hares. Hyperimmune serum for immunohistochemistry (IHC) was produced by subcutaneous infection of mice with 2×10⁹ colony forming units of live B. suis biovar 2, injected four times at 1-week intervals. The antiserum did not react with F. tularensis or Yersinia pseudotuberculosis in IHC and displayed only weak cross-reaction with B. canis. Numerous, yellow–white necrotic foci (0.1–0.5cm diameter) were found in the spleen of five B. suis-infected female European brown hares and also in the lung, uterus, kidney or liver of four of these cases. Microscopically, the foci comprised single or coalescing granulomas with a central necrotic area. Both bacterial isolation and IHC gave positive results for B. suis infection in these animals. B. suis antigens were found as granular or amorphous extracellular material in the necrotic centre of several granulomas. IHC appears to be a suitable complementary diagnostic method for the detection of B. suis infection in the European brown hare.