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Open Access Naturally Occurring Disseminated Group B Streptococcus Infections in Postnatal Rats

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Group B Streptococcus (Streptococcus agalactiae, GBS) is a gram-positive commensal and occasional opportunistic pathogen of the human vaginal, respiratory, and intestinal tracts that can cause sepsis, pneumonia, or meningitis in human neonates, infants, and immunosuppressed persons. We report here on a spontaneous outbreak of postnatal GBS-associated disease in rats. Ten of 26 (38.5%) 21- to 24-d-old rat pups died or were euthanized due to a moribund state in a colony of rats transgenic for the human diphtheria toxin receptor on a Munich–Wistar–Frömter genetic background. Four pups had intralesional coccoid bacteria in various organs without accompanying inflammation. GBS was isolated from the liver of 2 of these pups and from skin abscesses in 3 littermates. A connection with the transgene could not be established. A treatment protocol was evaluated in the remaining breeding female rats. GBS is a potentially clinically significant spontaneous infection in various populations of research rats, with some features that resemble late-onset postnatal GBS infection in human infants.

Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Merck and Company, Rahway, New Jersey, USA; Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; 2: Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 3: Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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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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