ISSN 2398-2993       Transformation '' not found.

Pasteurella multocida


Synonym(s): P. multocida




  • Family: pasteurellaceae.
  • Genus: pasteurella.
  • Species: Pasteurella multocida.
  • Closely related to the genera Actinobacillus and Hemophilus.
  • P. multocida are identified based on capsular polysaccharides into five types, A-F.
    • P. multocida are then further categorised into serotypes 1-16 based on their cell wall or somatic antigen.  
    • P. multocida are classified based on both serogroup and serotype e.g. A3.  
    • Differentiation of serogroup and serotypes are based on the results of passive hemagglutination and gel diffusion precipitin tests. 


  • Pasteurella - after Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).
  • Pasteurella species were first isolated by Pasteur in 1880 as the causative agent of fowlpox.
  • Multocida: L: multus - much, many; cidere - to kill; ie pathogenic for many animals.

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Clinical Effects



  • P. multocida is a commensal bacterium of the mucous membranes of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract of cattle.


  • The first stage of disease caused by P. multocida is attachment of the bacteria to the host cell. A number of adhesion molecules have been shown to be involved in this attachment, including fimbrae, OMP A and lipoprotein B.
  • The capsule of P. multocida functions to prevent phagocytosis by host macrophages and neutrophils.  This is achieved as the capsule is composed of molecules similar to those found in the host species. The capsule of Types A and B contains hyaluronic acid, that of Type D contains heparin and that of Type F contains chondroitin.
  • Iron acquisition and uptake are essential for bacterial survival. To this end P. multocida possesses multiple virulence factors to acquire iron from host cells, including red blood cells.


  • Usually through direct contact or through aerosols.
  • Infections may become established due to immunosuppression, such as induced by other diseases or when the animal becomes stressed (eg through transportation) Handling cattle: transportation.

Pathological effects

  • Bovine respiratory disease Adult respiratory disease: overview Calf repsiratory disease: overview: caused by serotype A (particularly A3 and A4), and in rare cases serotype D:
    • Fever.
    • Depression.
    • Increased breathing rate.
    • Nasal discharge.
    • Bronchopneumonia.
    • Pleurisy.
  • Hemorrhagic septicemia Hemorrhagic septicemia – caused by serotypes B2 (Asia, Middle East, Southern Europe) and E2 (Africa)
  • High fever.
  • Respiratory distress, edema of the laryngeal region.
  • Death due to endotoxemia (septic shock).
  • Mortality rate of between 50 to 100%.


Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Avoid transport stress.
  • In developing countries hemorrhagic septicemia can be triggered by overwork, poor body condition and monsoon rains.
  • Avoid introduction of carrier animals into susceptible herds.
  • Infected animals should be isolated and treated early (if treatment is an option).
  • Animals should be slaughtered in countries where the disease is exotic.


  • Currently commercially available P. multocida vaccines for use in cattle are predominately killed vaccines; however a live, attenuated, streptomycin-dependent mutant vaccine is also available.
  • Monovalent and polyvalent autogenous vaccines are also available; where the vaccine is prepared from a pathogen extracted from a host animal or group and is then used to inoculate the rest of the herd.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Jamali H, Rezagholipour M, Fallah S, Dadrasnia A, Chelliah S, Velappan R D, Wei K S & Ismail S (2014) Prevalence, characterization and antibiotic resistance of Pasteurella multocida isolated from bovine respiratory infection. Vet J 202 (2), 381-3 PubMed.
  • Wilson B A & Ho M (2013) Pasteurella multocida: from zoonosis to cellular microbiology. Clin Microbiol Rev 26 (3), 631-55 PubMed.
  • Wilkie I W, Harper M, Boyce J D & Adler B (2012) Pasteurella multocida: diseases and pathogenesis. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 361, 1-22 PubMed.
  • Shivachandra S B, Viswas K N & Kumar A A (2011) A review of hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle and buffalo. Anim Health Res Rev 12 (1), 67-82 PubMed.
  • Dabo S M, Taylor J D & Confer A W (2007) Pasteurella multocida and bovine respiratory disease. Anim Health Res Rev 8 (2), 129-50 PubMed.
  • Collins F M (1977) Mechanisms of acquired resistance to Pasteurella multocida infection, areview. Cornell Vet 67 (1), 103-138.
  • Mohan K, Sadza M, Madsen M et al (1994) Phenotypic characterization of Zimbabwean isolates of Paturella multocida. Vet Microbiol 38 (4), 351-357.

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