DAO 127:231-236 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03196

Cutaneous mycobacteriosis in a captive Amazonian manatee Trichechus inunguis

Laura Reisfeld1,2,*, Cássia Yumi Ikuta3, Laura Ippolito1, Bruna Silvatti1, José Soares Ferreira Neto3, José Luiz Catão-Dias2, Fernando C. W. Rosas4, José Anselmo D’Affonsêca Neto4, Vera M. F. da Silva

1Aquário de São Paulo, São Paulo, São Paulo 04275-000, Brazil
2Laboratório de Patologia Comparada de Animais Selvagens (LAPCOM), Depto de Patologia (VPT), Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ), Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo 05508-270, Brazil
3Laboratorio de Zoonoses Bacterianas (LZB), Depto Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal (VPS), FMVZ/USP, São Paulo 05508-270, Brazil
4Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos (LMA), Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Amazonas 69060-001, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: An adult male Amazonian manatee Trichechus inunguis under human care presented with 3 circular cutaneous lesions on the dorsal aspect of the rostrum and between the nostrils (plenum). Initially these lesions were superficial, hypopigmented, without warmth and non-painful. Microbiological cultures of skin swabs isolated Candida sp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and topical treatment with antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication was instituted. This treatment strategy did not lead to any clinical improvement, and after 6 mo, the lesions progressed to a confluent abscess (5.0 × 3.0 cm) with increased temperature and obvious discomfort on palpation. An impression smear of a cutaneous biopsy was submitted for Ziehl-Neelsen staining and after detection of acid-fast bacilli, the cutaneous biopsy and a swab from the lesion were sent for histopathology, culture and sensitivity testing. After 5 d of incubation and through PCR-restriction analysis of the isolates, Mycobacterium fortuitum and M. abscessus were identified. Sensitivity testing indicated that the isolates were susceptible to ciprofloxacin and clarithromycin, and after draining of the lesion and administration of systemic antibiotic treatment, there was rapid clinical improvement. This report describes non-healing lesions in an aquatic animal and illustrates the importance of evaluating the presence of non-tuberculous mycobacteria, opportunistic pathogens which are ubiquitous in the aquatic environment, in protracted, non-responsive cases. We also highlight the importance of a correct diagnosis and treatment approach, and we review concerns that these bacteria are zoonotic agents and are frequently resistant to conventional antibiotics.

KEY WORDS: Aquatic mammal · Zoonotic · Skin disease · Mycobacterium · Mycobacterium abscessus · Mycobacterium fortuitum

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Cite this article as: Reisfeld L, Ikuta CY, Ippolito L, Silvatti B and others (2018) Cutaneous mycobacteriosis in a captive Amazonian manatee Trichechus inunguis. Dis Aquat Org 127:231-236. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03196

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