Reprinted from Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research Vol 63:166 - 169

Characterization of Putative Haemophilus somnus Isolates from Tonsils of American Bison (Bison bison)

Alton C.S. Ward1, Neil W. Dyer2, and Lynette B. Corbeil3
University of Idaho, Caldwell; 2North Dakota State University, Fargo;
3 University of California, San Diego


Three Haemophilus somnus isolates (2a, 3a, and 27b) and one H. somnus-like (13b) isolate from tonsils of commercially reared American bison were compared with 2 known H. somnus isolates from cattle, namely, 2336, shown to cause respiratory disease, and 129Pt, from the prepuce of an asymptomatic bull.  All H. somnus isolates, but not the H. somnus-like isolate, required CO2 for growth.  Biochemical utilization profiles were identical for bison and bovine H. somnus isolates with the exception of α-fucosidase production by isolate 3a. Isolate 27a varied from 2a, 2336 and 12Pt by hemolysis of bovine erythrocytes.  Isolate 13b hemolyzed sheep but not bovine or bison erythrocytes and varied from other isolates in biochemical utilization tests.  Outer membrane protein profiles of 2a, 3a and 27a were almost identical with those of bovine isolate 2336 and similar to that of 129Pt, but quite different from that of 13b.  Western blots of bison isolates were similar to that of the virulent bovine 2336 isolate, including detection of high molecular mass antigens above 100 kDa and the 76 kDa antigens associated with bovine IgG2 Fc binding characteristic of virulent strains, as well as antigens of approximately 78, 60 and 40 kDa. Producers and veterinarians should be aware that H. somnus may be carried by bison and may have potential for causing diseases in bison similar to those described in cattle and sheep.

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