We describe two cases of wound infections of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), one wild and one captive, in which Lonepinella-like organisms were involved. The wild adult koala was captured with bite wound injuries, as part of a koala population management program in Queensland, Australia. In both cases, there was evidence of physical trauma causing the initial wound. The captive koala suffered injury from the cage wire, and the wild koala had injuries suggestive of intermale fighting. Gram-negative bacteria isolated from both cases proved to be challenging to identify using routine diagnostic tests. The wound in the captive koala yielded a pure culture of an organism shown by whole genome sequence (WGS) analysis to be a member of the genus Lonepinella, but not a member of the only formally described species, L. koalarum. The wound of the wild koala yielded a mixed culture of Citrobacter koseri, Enterobacter cloacae and an organism shown by WGS analysis to be Lonepinella, but again not Lonepinella koalarum. Both cases were difficult to treat; the captive koala eventually had to have the phalanges amputated, and the wild koala required removal of the affected claw. The two Lonepinella isolates from these cases have a close relationship to an isolate from a human wound caused by a koala bite and may represent a novel species within the genus Lonepinella. Wound infections in koalas linked to Lonepinella have not been reported previously. Wildlife veterinarians need to be aware of the potential presence of Lonepinella-like organisms when dealing with wound infections in koalas, and the inability of commercial kits and systems to correctly identify the isolates.

You do not currently have access to this content.