Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Fusobacterium necrophorum

Contributor(s): Molly Varga, Anna Meredith




  • Order: Fusobacteriales.
  • Family: Fusobacteriaceae.
  • Genus:Fusobacterium.
  • Species:necrophorumnecrophorum(biovar A) andnecrophorumfunduliforme(biovar B).

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Clinical Effects



  • Found both as a commensal in the oral cavity/gut of many species, however will also survive for extended periods in soil.


  • By direct contact with devitalized tissue, particularly where epithelial integrity has been breached.
  • Hematogenous spread is also possible.
  • Contact with infected feces.

Pathological effects

  • Both a primary cause of necrotic lesions as well as a common secondary invader into necrotic tissue.
  • Primary or secondary invasion causes abscess formation and hematogenous spread; further abscess formation may occur.
  • The bacteria produce both exo-and endotoxins.


Control via animal

  • Difficult/impossible as is a normal commensal in many individuals.
  • Prevention of fighting, early detection/treatment of wounds, myiasis   Fly strike  and dental disease   Teeth: dental disease - overview  .

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment


  • Polyvalent vaccines against the exotoxins are available for other species and have been tested on rabbits, however they are not clinically used for rabbits at this time.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Naragayan S K, Nagaraja T G, Chengappa M M et al (2001) Cloning, sequencing and expression of the leukotoxin gene from Fusobacterium necrophorumInfect Immun 69 (9), 5447-5455 PubMed.
  • Seps S L, Battles A H, Nguyen L et al (1999) Oropharyngeal necrobacillosis with septic thrombophlebitis and pulmonary embolic abscesses: Lemierres Syndrome in a New Zealand White Rabbit. Contemp Topics Lab Anim Sci 38 (5), 44-46 PubMed.
  • Tan Z L, Nagaraja T G & Chengappa M M (1996) Fusobacterium necrophorum infections: virulence factors, pathogenic mechanism and control measures. Vet Res Commun 20 (2), 113-140 PubMed.
  • Langworth B F (1977) Fusobacterium necrophorum: its characteristics and role as an animal pathogen. Bacteriol Rev 41 (2), 373-390 PubMed.

Other sources of information