Pulmonary zoonoses

Last author update: 1 September 2011
Last staff update: 2 May 2022

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PubMed search: Pulmonary zoonoses

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
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Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Pulmonary zoonoses. website. Accessed September 27th, 2023.
Clinical features
  • Zoonoses are diseases and infections naturally transmitted between people and vertebrate animals (WHO: Zoonotic Disease: Emerging Public Health Threats in the Region [Accessed 18 August 2021])
  • 3 classes:
    1. Endemic zoonoses which are present in many places and affect many people and animals
    2. Epidemic zoonoses which are sporadic
    3. Emerging and re-emerging zoonoses which are newly appearing in a population or have existed previously but are rapidly increasing in incidence
  • Zoonotic infection originally identified in lungs of foals; also cattle, swine, sheep, deer, goats, dogs, cats, other species
  • Worldwide distribution in water and soil, especially near feces of herbivores
  • Infection by inhalation or ingestion
  • Resides primarily within lung macrophages of infected patients, also some alveolar cells (Microbes Infect 2011;13:438)
  • R. equi is most common human pathogen of the Rhodococci
  • Generally occurs in AIDS patients (may cause malakoplakia) (Clin Infect Dis 1999;28:1334)
    • Also other immunodeficient patients; very rarely in immunocompetent
  • Incidence decreasing, likely due to HAART therapy and azithromycin prophylaxis
  • Rhodo since salmon pink pigment in culture
  • Treated with antibiotics but mortality is 50% in AIDS patients, 20% in other immunocompromised and 10% in immunocompetent
    Case reports
    Microscopic (histologic) description
    • Hantavirus: interstitial pneumonitis with mononuclear infiltrate, edema, focal hyaline membranes, pleura effusions; atypical lymphocytes in pulmonary vasculature may mimic lymphoma
    • Rhodococcus: epithelioid macrophages containing gram positive, partially acid fast coccobacilli that resemble mycobacteria; may produce malakoplakia
    Microscopic (histologic) images

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    Electron microscopy images

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    Transmission electron<br>micrograph of<br>Sin Nombre hantavirus

    Transmission electron
    micrograph of
    Sin Nombre hantavirus

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