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Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus septicemia in alpacas: three cases and review of the literature

Corpa, Juan M., Carvallo, Francisco, Anderson, Mark L., Nyaoke, Akinyi C., Moore, Janet D., Uzal, Francisco A.
Gram-positive bacteria, Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus, alpacas, death, endocarditis, enteritis, fever, llamas, lymphangitis, necrosis, pneumonia, septicemia, thrombosis
Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus septicemia of alpacas and llamas, also called alpaca fever, is characterized clinically by fever, depression, recumbency, and death, and pathologically by polyserositis. Although a few natural and experimental cases of the disease have been reported, very little information about the pathology of spontaneous cases has been published. We present a detailed gross and microscopic description of 3 spontaneous cases of alpaca fever and review the literature on this condition. Typical of spontaneous and experimental infections with S. equi ssp. zooepidemicus, the 3 animals had disseminated fibrinosuppurative polyserositis with vascular thrombosis and intralesional gram-positive cocci. In addition, 2 of the animals had severe fibrinosuppurative pneumonia, endocarditis, and myocardial necrosis; the third animal had transmural pleocellular enteritis with prominent lymphangitis. The enteric lymphangitis observed in the latter suggests that dissemination of S. equi ssp. zooepidemicus occurred through lymphatic circulation and that, at least in this animal, the portal of entry of infection was the alimentary system.