An atypical Bacillus anthracis infection in a bull—A potential occupational health hazard

Mari Friman, Leila Kakko, Camelia Constantin, Heli Simojoki, Maria A. Andersson, S. Nagy, Heidi Salonen, Magnus Andersson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bacillus anthracis infecting cattle is usually identified based on the typical symptom: sudden death. Bacillus anthracis causing atypical symptoms may remain undiagnosed and represent a potential occupational health hazard for, that is veterinarians and producers, butchers and tanners. In the year 2004, one case of sudden death in a dairy farm in southern Finland was diagnosed as bovine anthrax. Four years later 2008, an atypical case of anthrax was diagnosed in the same holding. The bull was taken to the Production Animal Hospital of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki because of fever, loss of appetite and a symmetrically swollen scrotal sac. Penicillin treatment cured the fever but not the swollen scrotum. Before the intended therapeutic castration, a punctuate consisting of 10 ml fluid collected into a syringe from the scrotal sac was cultivated on blood agar at 37°C. After 24 hr, an almost pure culture of a completely non-hemolytic Bacillus cereus-like bacteria was obtained. The strain was identified as B. anthracis using Ba-specific primers by the Finnish Food Safety Authority (RUOKAVIRASTO). After the diagnosis, the bull was euthanized and destroyed, the personnel were treated with prophylactic antibiotics and the clinic was disinfected. In this particular case, treatment with water, Virkon S and lime seemed to be effective to eliminate endospores and vegetative cells since no relapses of anthrax have occurred in 10 years. This case is the last reported anthrax case in Finland.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReproduction in Domestic Animals
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Bos taurus
  • occupational hazard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

Cite this

Friman, M., Kakko, L., Constantin, C., Simojoki, H., Andersson, M. A., Nagy, S., Salonen, H., & Andersson, M. (2019). An atypical Bacillus anthracis infection in a bull—A potential occupational health hazard. Reproduction in Domestic Animals. https://doi.org/10.1111/rda.13532