Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis epizootic associated with area-wide emergence of a new Moraxella bovis pilus type

Am J Vet Res. 1989 Sep;50(9):1437-41.


Pilus-mediated adherence is a virulence attribute of Moraxella bovis. Several pilus types have been shown to exist among strains of this bacterium, but correlation between pilus type and specific field cases of the disease has not been done. During the summer of 1987, an epizootic of infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis was reported in 7 Iowa counties. Eight isolates of M bovis were secured from 12 episodes studied. All 8 of the isolates were nearly homogeneous in biochemical properties and had the same plasmid biotype. Pilus typing performed by immunofluorescence and immunogold electron microscopy identified a single new pilus type among 5 of the 8 isolates. This pilus type was identified in field cases that developed within a narrow time frame and over large distances. The implication of these findings is that infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis epizootics may be associated with emergence of a novel pilus type, and that rapid dissemination over wide distances can occur, presumably by transportation of carrier cattle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / ultrastructure*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Iowa
  • Keratoconjunctivitis, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Keratoconjunctivitis, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Moraxella / classification*
  • Moraxella / isolation & purification
  • Moraxella / pathogenicity
  • Moraxella / ultrastructure
  • Plasmids
  • Virulence