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Pasteurella multocida Septicemia, Due to Close Contact With a Pet Rabbit, in a Splenectomized Patient

Duggal, Abhijit MD, MPH*†; Waraich, Kanwaljit MD*†; Cutrona, Anthony MD*‡

Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice: May 2009 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 196-197
doi: 10.1097/IPC.0b013e3181812c3b
Case Reports

Pasteurella multocida is a prevalent cause of zoonotic infections in humans. Most cases are due to animal bites and scratches, but there are reported cases from close contact with animals, mostly cats and dogs. We report a case of P. multocida septicemia in a 50-year-old splenectomized patient with a history of Hodgkin lymphoma from close contact with a rabbit. He did not report any bites or scratches but had close contact with a pet rabbit. The patient was treated successfully with ampicillin. Most of the pathologic strains of Pasteurella are encapsulated. This encapsulation confers resistance to both phagocytosis and complement-mediated destruction of this organism. Our case illustrates the importance of prevention of close contact between splenectomized patients and domestic animals. Carrier states for virulent strains in these animals should be checked to avoid life-threatening septicemia in splenectomized patients.

From the *Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy; †Department of Internal Medicine, and ‡Division of Infectious Diseases, Western Reserve Care System, Youngstown, Ohio.

Reprints: Abhijit Duggal, MD, MPH, Western Reserve Care System/Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Youngstown, OH 44501. E-mail:

The authors have no personal or financial support or involvement with any organization with financial interest in the subject matter or any actual or potential conflict of interest.

This work was performed at Northside Hospital, Western Reserve Care System, Youngstown, Ohio.

© 2009 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.