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Open Access Epidemiology of Invasive Klebsiella pneumoniae with Hypermucoviscosity Phenotype in a Research Colony of Nonhuman Primates

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Invasive Klebsiella pneumoniae with hypermucoviscosity phenotype (HMV K. pneumoniae) is an emerging human pathogen that, over the past 20 y, has resulted in a distinct clinical syndrome characterized by pyogenic liver abscesses sometimes complicated by bacteremia, meningitis, and endophthalmitis. Infections occur predominantly in Taiwan and other Asian countries, but HMV K. pneumoniae is considered an emerging infectious disease in the United States and other Western countries. In 2005, fatal multisystemic disease was attributed to HMV K. pneumoniae in African green monkeys (AGM) at our institution. After identification of a cluster of subclinically infected macaques in March and April 2008, screening of all colony nonhuman primates by oropharyngeal and rectal culture revealed 19 subclinically infected rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. PCR testing for 2 genes associated with HMV K. pneumoniae, rmpA and magA, suggested genetic variability in the samples. Random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis on a subset of clinical isolates confirmed a high degree of genetic diversity between the samples. Environmental testing did not reveal evidence of aerosol or droplet transmission of the organism in housing areas. Further research is needed to characterize HMV K. pneumoniae, particularly with regard to genetic differences among bacterial strains and their relationship to human disease and to the apparent susceptibility of AGM to this organism.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA. 2: United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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