ABSTRACT

We detail a novel presentation of tuberculosis associated with intestinal perforation in an endangered Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) from South Australian waters and confirm the presence of this disease in the region of highest pup production. In February 2017, a 3-yr-old juvenile male died shortly after hauling out at the Kingscote beach on Kangaroo Island. On postmortem examination, we found a mid-jejunal intestinal perforation and partial obstruction (from a strangulating fibrous and granulomatous mesenteric mass), a marked multicentric abdominal fibrosing granulomatous lymphadenitis, and a large volume serosanguinous peritoneal effusion. Acid-fast bacteria were detected postmortem in cytologic preparations of the mesenteric lymph node and in histologic sections of jejunum and the encircling mass. Mycobacterial infection was confirmed by positive culture after 3 wk. Molecular typing using mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit–variable-number tandem-repeat typing with 12-locus analysis identified Mycobacterium pinnipedii. This case highlights the need for vigilance of zoonotic disease risk when handling pinnipeds, including in the absence of specific respiratory signs or grossly apparent pulmonary pathology. Increased serologic population surveillance is recommended to assess the species' risk from this and other endemic diseases, especially given its endangered status.

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