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A variety of infectious diseases caused by the coccobacilli Pasteurella multocida and P. haemolytica; the term also applies to diseases caused by any Pasteurella species. All Pasteurella species occur as commensals in the upper respiratory and alimentary tracts of their various hosts. Although varieties of some species cause primary disease, many of the infections are secondary to other infections or result from various environmental stresses. Pasteurella species are generally extracellular parasites that elicit mainly a humoral immune response. Several virulence factors have been identified. See Virulence

Pasteurella multocida is the most prevalent species of the genus causing a wide variety of infections in many domestic and wild animals, and humans. It is a primary or, more frequently, a secondary pathogen of cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and other animals. As a secondary invader, it is often involved in pneumonic pasteurellosis of cattle (shipping fever) and in enzootic or mycoplasmal pneumonia of swine. It is responsible for a variety of sporadic infections in many animals, including abortion, encephalitis, and meningitis. It produces severe mastitis in cattle and sheep, and toxin-producing strains are involved in atrophic rhinitis, an economically important disease of swine. Hemorrhagic septicemia, caused by capsular type B strains, has been reported in elk and deer in the United States.

All strains of P. haemolytica produce a soluble cytotoxin (leukotoxin) that kills various leukocytes of ruminants, thus lowering the primary pulmonary defense. It is the principal cause of the widespread pneumonic pasteurellosis of cattle. Other important diseases caused by certain serotypes of P. haemolytica are mastitis of ewes and septicemia of lambs.

All of the Pasteurella species can be isolated by culturing appropriate clinical specimens on blood agar. Multiple drug resistance is frequently encountered. Treatment is effective if initiated early. Among the drugs used are penicillin and streptomycin, tetracyclines, chloramphenicol, sulphonamides, and some cephalosporins. Sound sanitary practices and segregation of affected animals may help limit the spread of the major pasteurelloses. Live vaccines and bacterins (killed bacteria) are used for the prevention of some. See Pasteurella

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also hemorrhagic septicemia), an infectious disease of animals and man characterized by septicemia, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory and intestinal tracts, pneumonia, and edema. The causative agents are bacteria of the genus Pasteurella, and the source of these agents is infected animals or animals that have recovered from the disease. Lowered resistance owing to unfavorable environmental factors is important in the origin of the disease. Infection occurs by airborne transmission or by ingestion of the bacteria.

The symptoms of pasteurellosis in animals include elevated temperature, anorexia, severe prostration, and accelerated pulse and respiratory rates. When the respiratory organs are primarily involved, the animals exhibit a mucopurulent discharge from the nose, conjunctivitis, labored breathing, and coughing. The intestinal form is manifested by severe diarrhea, weakness, and, in the case of cattle, sheep, goats, and swine, edema of the head, neck, dewlap, and elsewhere. If the course of the disease is superacute, the animals die quickly with no visible symptoms.

Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms, epizootiological data, and results of bacteriological tests. Treatment involves the administration of specific hyperimmune serum, antibiotics, and sulfanilamides. It is not considered worthwhile to treat infected poultry. Prevention includes proper housing and feeding of animals and observation of sanitary veterinary measures. Vaccines are used for active prevention.

Pasteurellosis of man is characterized by local lesions in the form of abscesses and phlegmons. In some cases, osteomyelitis or bronchopneumonia may develop. Prevention of the disease in man involves taking proper precautions when handling diseased animals.


Epizoologiia. Edited by R. F. Sosov. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(veterinary medicine)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.