Microbiological survey of mice (Mus musculus) purchased from commercial pet shops in Kanagawa and Tokyo, Japan

Exp Anim. 2015;64(2):155-60. doi: 10.1538/expanim.14-0087. Epub 2014 Dec 13.


Information regarding the prevalence of infectious agents in mice in pet shops in Japan is scarce. This information is particularly useful for minimizing the risk of potential transmission of infections to laboratory mice. Therefore, we surveyed infectious agents in mice from pet shops in Kanagawa and Tokyo, Japan. The survey was conducted in 28 mice from 5 pet shops to screen for 47 items (17 viruses, 22 bacteria and fungi, 10 parasites) using culture tests, serology, PCR, and microscopy. The most common viral agent detected was murine norovirus (17 mice; 60.7%), followed by Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (13 mice; 46.4%), and mouse hepatitis virus (12 mice; 42.8%). The most common agent amongst the bacteria and fungi was Pasteurella pneumotropica (10 mice; 35.7%), followed by Helicobacter ganmani and Pneumocystis murina (8 mice; 28.5%, for both). Tritrichomonas muris was the most common parasite (19 mice; 67.8%), followed by Spironucleus muris (13 mice; 46.4%), Aspiculuris tetraptera, and Syphacia obvelata (8 mice each; 28.5%). Remarkably, a zoonotic agent, Hymenolepis nana, was found in 7 mice (25%). Given these results, we suggest that the workers in laboratory animal facilities should recognize again the potential risks of mice outside of the laboratory animal facilities as an infectious source, and avoid keeping mice as pets or as feed for carnivorous reptiles as much as possible for risk management.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / microbiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission
  • Communicable Diseases / veterinary*
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Mice / microbiology*
  • Pets / microbiology*
  • Risk Management
  • Rodent Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rodent Diseases / microbiology*
  • Rodent Diseases / transmission
  • Tokyo / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses