Multispecies Epidemiologic Surveillance Study after an Outbreak of Yersiniosis at an African Green Monkey Research Facility

Esteban Soto*, Amanda Loftis, Daniel Boruta, Sara Rostad, Amy Beierschmitt, Matthew McCoy, Stewart Francis, John Berezowski, Oscar Illanes, Diego Recinos, Maziel Arauz, Dustine Spencer, Trellor Fraites, Roberta Palmour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After an outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica at a NHP research facility, we performed a multispecies investigation of the prevalence of Yersinia spp. in various mammals that resided or foraged on the grounds of the facility, to better understand the epizootiology of yersiniosis. Blood samples and fecal and rectal swabs were obtained from 105 captive African green monkeys (AGM), 12 feral cats, 2 dogs, 20 mice, 12 rats, and 3 mongooses. Total DNA extracted from swab suspensions served as template for the detection of Y. enterocolitica DNA by real-time PCR. Neither Y. enterocolitica organisms nor their DNA were detected from any of these samples. However, Western blotting revealed the presence of Yersinia antibodies in plasma. The AGM samples revealed a seroprevalence of 91% for Yersinia spp. and of 61% for Y. enterocolitica specifically. The AGM that were housed in cages where at least one fatality occurred during the outbreak (clinical group) had similar seroprevalence to that of AGM housed in unaffected cages (nonclinical group). However, the nonclinical group was older than the clinical group. In addition, 25%, 100%, 33%, 10%, and 10% of the sampled local cats, dogs, mongooses, rats, and mice, respectively, were seropositive. The high seroprevalence after this outbreak suggests that Y. enterocolitica was transmitted effectively through the captive AGM population and that age was an important risk factor for disease. Knowledge regarding local environmental sources of Y. enterocolitica and the possible role of wildlife in the maintenance of yersiniosis is necessary to prevent and manage this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-531
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPrint publication - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • African green monkey
  • AGM


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