Antibiotic Awareness Week. And Thursday’s Mystery Bacterium Is…?

For today’s mystery bacterium, we have a highly contagious pathogen that causes disease in dogs, cats, rabbits and pigs, as well as being closely related to the cause of whooping cough in humans.

Can you name the mystery bacterium? Here are some hints about today’s guest bacterium:

  • The symptoms in dogs are closest to the human version of the disease, while in rabbits it is associated with snuffles, in cats it can be one of the organisms involved in cat ‘flu, and in pigs it is one of the two organisms that act together to cause atrophic rhinitis.
  • The disease that this bacterium causes in dogs and cats spreads rapidly anywhere that large numbers of animals interact: boarding kennels, training classes, shows and of course the waiting rooms of veterinary practices. Which, of course, is why we make the owners of coughing dogs wait outside.
  • The bacterium can be spread by both direct and indirect contact so good ventilation and thorough disinfection are important in reducing the spread of the disease.
  • However, many cases are self-limiting so antibiotics should not be prescribed in uncomplicated cases (back to antibiotic awareness week!).

And if you’re missing your daily microbiology fix, this is a Gram-negative, strictly anaerobic rod.

Can you name the bacterium? Send your answer (with your name) to [email protected]  All correct answers will be entered in the draw to win a free Gratnells trolley at the end of the week.

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