Abstract # 2484 Poster # 119:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 12 (Ball Rooms A and B) Poster Presentation

Enteritis Potentially Associated with Lawsonia intracellularis in a Population of Ring-tailed Lemurs on St. Catherines Island

C. Laughter1,2, R. G. Lessnau1,2 and T. M. Norton1
1St. Catherines Island Foundation, Midway, GA 31320, USA, 2Armstrong Atlantic State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Savannah, GA
     Though primarily a swine disease, proliferative enteritis caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Lawsonia intracellularis, has been documented in many species of animals, including macaques. In 2006-2007 there were ten cases of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) on St. Catherines Island exhibiting some or all of the following symptoms: gas in the gastrointestinal tract, vomiting, diarrhea, painful abdomen, hypothermia, severe lethargy, rectal prolapse, anorexia, hypoproteinemia, and hypoalbumenia. The majority of cases were infants ranging from four to 15 months, though one 10 year old male was present in the sample. Eighty percent of these animals died, with one expiring on the same day of the first onset of symptoms. Microscopic evaluation of tissues suggested necrotizing enterocolitis as the cause of death. Laboratory tests utilizing polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry staining revealed the presence of L. intracellularis in both healthy and debilitated members of the lemur population, suggesting that the presence of the bacteria may be underdiagnosed in primates. Given the rarity of documented cases in primates and inconsistencies in our test results, further research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between proliferative enteritis and L. intracellularis in primates.