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Fecal shedding of Rhodococcus equi in mares and foals after experimental infection of foals and effect of composting on concentrations of R. equi in contaminated bedding
- Huber, Laura, Giguère, Steeve, Berghaus, Londa J., Hanafi, Amanda, Ryan, Clare
- Veterinary microbiology 2018 v.223 pp. 42-46
- Rhodococcus equi, composting, feces, foals, inoculum, mares, people, pneumonia, saprophytes, secondary infection, soil, virulence, wastes
- Rhodococcus equi, a soil saprophyte, is a common cause of pneumonia in foals and a frequent opportunistic pathogen in immunosuppressed people. Because it is widespread in the environment, R. equi can be detected in the feces of most horses. However, the exact timing and rate of shedding relative to infection is unknown. The objectives of this study were to quantify shedding of R. equi in mares and foals after experimental infection of foals with 2 different inocula and to determine the effect of composting on concentrations of R. equi in contaminated bedding. Foals were infected intratracheally with virulent R. equi using inocula of 1 × 107 CFU/mL (n = 16) or 1 × 106 CFU/mL (n = 12) at 23 ± 2 days (range 21 to 27 days) of age. Fecal samples were collected from mares and foals prior to infection and on days 3, 7, and 14 post-infection for quantitative culture of total and virulent R. equi. Waste from the horses was composted for 7 days. Concentrations of total and virulent R. equi in foal feces were significantly higher on day 14 post-infection compared to day 0, regardless of inoculum size. Concentration of total R. equi in mare feces was significantly higher on days 3, 7 and 14 compared to day 0 regardless of inoculum size, whereas shedding of virulent R. equi only increased on day 14 post-infection. Composting for 7 days significantly decreased concentrations of total R. equi and virulent R. equi by an average of 1.08 ± 0.21 and 0.59 ± 0.26 log10 CFU/g, respectively.