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Section of epidemiology

Publication: Detection of Chlamydia pneumoniae in a collection of captive snakes and response to treatment with marbofloxacin

In a collection of 58 snakes comprising predominantly Eurasian vipers in Switzerland, five snakes died unexpectedly during hibernation from 2009 to 2012. In one snake, organisms resembling chlamydiae were detected by immunohistochemistry in multiple histiocytic granulomas. Real-time quantitative PCR and microarray analysis were used to determine the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae in tissue samples and cloacal/choanal swabs from snakes in the collection; 8/53 (15.1%) of the remaining snakes were positive. Although one infected snake had suppurative periglossitis, infection with C. pneumoniae did not appear to be associated with specific clinical signs in snakes. Of seven snakes treated with 5 mg/kg marbofloxacin IM once daily, five became PCR negative for C. pneumoniae following treatment, whereas one animal remained positive and one snake was lost to follow-up.

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