Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Hemorrhagic septicemia

Contributor(s): Mike Reynolds , John Tulloch

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Introduction

  • Cause: hemorrhagic septicemia is a highly fatal, hemorrhagic disease of cattle and buffalo caused by Pasteurella multocida types 6:B and 6:E.
  • Signs: dullness, lethargy, pyrexia, recumbency, hypersalivation, pharyngeal edema (which spreads to the cervical and brisket regions), congested mucus membranes, tachypnea, respiratory distress and death usually within 6 hours of the onset of clinical disease.
  • Diagnosis: clinical and post mortem findings consistent with disease. Isolation of the agent from blood or bone marrow of a dead animal (PCR). Gram or methylene blue stained blood smears reveal gram negative bacilli. Serology showing a rising titre in recovered animals is highly suggestive.
  • Treatment: penicillin, ampicillin or oxytetracycline at label dose rates.
  • Prognosis: poor. The majority of animals will die once clinical signs have developed and unless antimicrobial therapy is instigated early in the disease process.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Predisposing factors

General

  • Close contact with infected or carrier animals.
  • Monsoon or wet season.

Pathophysiology

  • Unlike other Pasteurella species which serve as secondary, opportunistic invaders, hemorrhagic septicemia is a primary pathogen.
  • After initial replication in the tonsils, bacteria soon multiply throughout the animal.
  • The presence of outer membrane lipopolysaccharides help the organism evade phagocytosis.
  •  Recovered animals may remain as carriers and serve as a reservoir of infection.

Timecourse

  • 3 – 5 days with a clinical duration of less than 72 hours.

Epidemiology

  • After a disease outbreak surviving animals may become latent, asymptomatic carries of infection.
  • Herd immunity is high and so no fresh cases occur.
  • However, following the contact of naïve animals, for example, after animal movements, or the birth of new naïve animals, further disease outbreaks may occur.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • OIE technical disease cards (2013) Haemorrhagic septicaemia. pp 1 -
  • Brown C & Torres A (2008) USAHA Foreign animal diseases. In: Committee of foreign and emerging diseases of the US animal health association. 7th edn. BOCA publications. pp 297 - 301.
  • De Alwis M C L (1999) Haemorrhagic septicaemia. Aciar monograph. 5.


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