Here we report the genome sequence of Helicobacter heilmannii sensu stricto ASB1 isolated from the gastric mucosa of a kitten with severe gastritis. Helicobacter heilmannii sensu stricto has also been associated with gastric disease in humans. Availability of this genome sequence will contribute to the identification of genes involved in the pathogen’s virulence and carcinogenic properties.
The establishment of safe and effective protocols to treat chytridiomycosis in amphibians is urgently required. In this study, the usefulness of antibacterial agents to clear chytridiomycosis from infected amphibians was evaluated.
Florfenicol, sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine and the combination of trimethoprim and sulfonamides were active in vitro against cultures of five Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis strains containing sporangia and zoospores, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 0.5-1.0 μg/ml for florfenicol and 8.0 μg/ml for the sulfonamides. Trimethoprim was not capable of inhibiting growth but, combined with sulfonamides, reduced the time to visible growth inhibition by the sulfonamides. Growth inhibition of B. dendrobatidis was not observed after exposure to clindamycin, doxycycline, enrofloxacin, paromomycin, polymyxin E and tylosin. Cultures of sporangia and zoospores of B. dendrobatidis strains JEL423 and IA042 were killed completely after 14 days of exposure to 100 μg/ml florfenicol or 16 μg/ml trimethoprim combined with 80 μg/ml sulfadiazine. These concentrations were, however, not capable of efficiently killing zoospores within 4 days after exposure as assessed using flow cytometry. Florfenicol concentrations remained stable in a bathing solution during a ten day period. Exposure of Discoglossus scovazzi tadpoles for ten days to 100 μg/ml but not to 10 μg florfenicol /ml water resulted in toxicity. In an in vivo trial, post metamorphic Alytes muletensis, experimentally inoculated with B. dendrobatidis, were treated topically with a solution containing 10 μg/ml of florfenicol during 14 days. Although a significant reduction of the B. dendrobatidis load was obtained, none of the treated animals cleared the infection.
We thus conclude that, despite marked anti B. dendrobatidis activity in vitro, the florfenicol treatment used is not capable of eliminating B. dendrobatidis infections from amphibians.
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease in amphibians and driver of worldwide amphibian declines.
We focussed on the early stages of infection by Bd in 3 amphibian species with a differential susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. Skin explants of Alytes muletensis, Litoria caerulea and Xenopus leavis were exposed to Bd in an Ussing chamber for 3 to 5 days. Early interactions of Bd with amphibian skin were observed using light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. To validate the observations in vitro, comparison was made with skin from experimentally infected frogs. Additional in vitro experiments were performed to elucidate the process of intracellular colonization in L. caerulea.
Early interactions of Bd with amphibian skin are: attachment of zoospores to host skin, zoospore germination, germ tube development, penetration into skin cells, invasive growth in the host skin, resulting in the loss of host cell cytoplasm. Inoculation of A. muletensis and L. caerulea skin was followed within 24 h by endobiotic development, with sporangia located intracellularly in the skin. Evidence is provided of how intracellular colonization is established and how colonization by Bd proceeds to deeper skin layers. Older thalli develop rhizoid-like structures that spread to deeper skin layers, form a swelling inside the host cell to finally give rise to a new thallus.
In X. laevis, interaction of Bd with skin was limited to an epibiotic state, with sporangia developing upon the skin. Only the superficial epidermis was affected. Epidermal cells seemed to be used as a nutrient source without development of intracellular thalli. The in vitro data agreed with the results obtained after experimental infection of the studied frog species. These data suggest that the colonization strategy of B. dendrobatidis is host dependent, with the extent of colonization most likely determined by inherent characteristics of the host epidermis.
Chlamydiales; Urodelans; Candidatus Amphibiichlamydia salamandrae; Neurergus sp.; Salamandra sp.; bacteria; salamander; amphibian; chlamydia
This report describes a 1-year-old cat with acute dyspnea. Thoracic radiography revealed a pneumomediastinum and severe subcutaneous emphysema. Lower airway surgical exploration was unable to determine the cause. At postmortem examination, acute necrotizing bronchopneumonia and fibrinonecrotic tracheitis due to feline herpesvirus-1 were diagnosed.
Although aspergillosis is one of the most common diseases in captive birds, the pathogenesis of avian aspergillosis is poorly known. We studied the role of avian respiratory macrophages as a first line of defense against avian aspergillosis. The phagocytic and killing capacities of avian respiratory macrophages were evaluated using pigeon respiratory macrophages that were inoculated with Aspergillus fumigatus conidia. On average, 25% of macrophage-associated conidia were phagocytosed after one hour. Sixteen percents of these cell-associated conidia were killed after 4 h and conidial germination was inhibited in more than 95% of the conidia. A. fumigatus conidia were shown to be cytotoxic to the macrophages. Intracellularly germinating conidia were located free in the cytoplasm of necrotic cells, as shown using transmission electron microscopy. These results suggest that avian respiratory macrophages may prevent early establishment of infection, unless the number of A. fumigatus conidia exceeds the macrophage killing capacity, leading to intracellular germination and colonization of the respiratory tract.
Helicobacter (H.) suis colonizes the stomach of pigs and is the most prevalent gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter species in humans. Limited information is available on host immune responses after infection with this agent and it is unknown if variation in virulence exists between different H. suis strains. Therefore, BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were used to compare colonization ability and gene expression of various inflammatory cytokines, as determined by real-time PCR, after experimental infection with 9 different H. suis strains. All strains were able to persist in the stomach of mice, but the number of colonizing bacteria at 59 days post inoculation was higher in stomachs of C57BL/6 mice compared to BALB/c mice. All H. suis strains caused an upregulation of interleukin (IL)-17, which was more pronounced in BALB/c mice. This upregulation was inversely correlated with the number of colonizing bacteria. Most strains also caused an upregulation of regulatory IL-10, positively correlating with colonization in BALB/c mice. Only in C57BL/6 mice, upregulation of IL-1β was observed. Increased levels of IFN-γ mRNA were never detected, whereas most H. suis strains caused an upregulation of the Th2 signature cytokine IL-4, mainly in BALB/c mice. In conclusion, the genetic background of the murine strain has a clear impact on the colonization ability of different H. suis strains and the immune response they evoke. A predominant Th17 response was observed, accompanied by a mild Th2 response, which is different from the Th17/Th1 response evoked by H. pylori infection.
Helicobacter (H.) suis is a porcine and human gastric pathogen. Previous studies in mice showed that an H. suis infection does not result in protective immunity, whereas immunization with H. suis whole-cell lysate (lysate) protects against a subsequent experimental infection. Therefore, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of H. suis proteins was performed followed by immunoblotting with pooled sera from H. suis- infected mice or mice immunized with lysate. Weak reactivity against H. suis proteins was observed in post-infection sera. Sera from lysate-immunized mice, however, showed immunoreactivity against a total of 19 protein spots which were identified using LC-MS/MS. The H. suis urease subunit B (UreB) showed most pronounced reactivity against sera from lysate-immunized mice and was not detected with sera from infected mice. None of the pooled sera detected H. suis neutrophil-activating protein A (NapA). The protective efficacy of intranasal vaccination of BALB/c mice with H. suis UreB and NapA, both recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli (rUreB and rNapA, respectively), was compared with that of H. suis lysate. All vaccines contained choleratoxin as adjuvant. Immunization of mice with rUreB and lysate induced a significant reduction of H. suis colonization compared to non-vaccinated H. suis-infected controls, whereas rNapA had no significant protective effect. Probably, a combination of local Th1 and Th17 responses, complemented by antibody responses play a role in the protective immunity against H. suis infections.
Porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) has been described as a non-cytopathic contaminant of the PK-15 cell line. Several experimental infections with PCV1 failed to reproduce disease in pigs. Therefore, PCV1 is generally accepted as non-pathogenic to pigs. To our knowledge, nothing is known about the outcome of PCV1 infections in porcine foetuses. This was examined in the present study.
Nine foetuses from three sows were inoculated at 55 days of gestation: three with 104.3 TCID50 of the PCV1 cell culture strain ATCC-CCL33, three with 104.3 TCID50 of the PCV1 field strain 3384 and three with cell culture medium (mock-inoculated). At 21 days post-inoculation, all 6 PCV1-inoculated and all 3 mock-inoculated foetuses had a normal external appearance. Microscopic lesions characterized by severe haemorrhages were observed in the lungs of two foetuses inoculated with CCL33. High PCV1 titres (up to 104.7 TCID50/g tissue) were found in the lungs of the CCL33-inoculated foetuses. All other organs of the CCL33-inoculated foetuses and all the organs of the 3384-inoculated foetuses were negative (< 101.7 TCID50/g tissue) by virus titration. PCV1-positive cells (up to 121 cells/10 mm2 in CCL33-inoculated foetuses and up to 13 cells/10 mm2 in 3384-inoculated foetuses) were found in the heart, lungs, spleen, liver, thymus and tonsils. PCR and DNA sequencing of Rep recovered CCL33 or 3384 sequences from CCL33- or 3384-inoculated foetuses, respectively.
From this study, it can be concluded that cell culture PCV1 can replicate efficiently and produce pathology in the lungs of porcine foetuses inoculated at 55 days of foetal life.
Helicobacter (H.) suis has been associated with chronic gastritis and ulcers of the pars oesophagea in pigs, and with gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma in humans. In order to obtain better insight into the genes involved in pathogenicity and in the specific adaptation to the gastric environment of H. suis, a genome analysis was performed of two H. suis strains isolated from the gastric mucosa of swine. Homologs of the vast majority of genes shown to be important for gastric colonization of the human pathogen H. pylori were detected in the H. suis genome. H. suis encodes several putative outer membrane proteins, of which two similar to the H. pylori adhesins HpaA and HorB. H. suis harbours an almost complete comB type IV secretion system and members of the type IV secretion system 3, but lacks most of the genes present in the cag pathogenicity island of H. pylori. Homologs of genes encoding the H. pylori neutrophil-activating protein and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were identified in H. suis. H. suis also possesses several other presumptive virulence-associated genes, including homologs for mviN, the H. pylori flavodoxin gene, and a homolog of the H. pylori vacuolating cytotoxin A gene. It was concluded that although genes coding for some important virulence factors in H. pylori, such as the cytotoxin-associated protein (CagA), are not detected in the H. suis genome, homologs of other genes associated with colonization and virulence of H. pylori and other bacteria are present.
“Helicobacter (H.) heilmannii” type 1 is the most prevalent gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter species in humans suffering from gastric disease. It has been shown to be identical to H. suis, a bacterium which is mainly associated with pigs. To obtain better insights into the long-term pathogenesis of infections with this micro-organism, experimental infections were carried out in different rodent models.
Mongolian gerbils and mice of two strains (BALB/c and C57BL/6) were infected with H. suis and sacrificed at 3 weeks, 9 weeks and 8 months after infection. Gastric tissue samples were collected for PCR analysis, histological and ultrastructural examination. In gerbils, bacteria mainly colonized the antrum and a narrow zone in the fundus near the forestomach/stomach transition zone. In both mice strains, bacteria colonized the entire glandular stomach. Colonization with H. suis was associated with necrosis of parietal cells in all three animal strains. From 9 weeks after infection onwards, an increased proliferation rate of mucosal epithelial cells was detected in the stomach regions colonized with H. suis. Most gerbils showed a marked lymphocytic infiltration in the antrum and in the forestomach/stomach transition zone, becoming more pronounced in the course of time. At 8 months post infection, severe destruction of the normal antral architecture at the inflamed sites and development of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma-like lesions were observed in some gerbils. In mice, the inflammatory response was less pronounced than in gerbils, consisting mainly of mononuclear cell infiltration and being most severe in the fundus.
H. suis causes death of parietal cells, epithelial cell hyperproliferation and severe inflammation in mice and Mongolian gerbil models of human gastric disease. Moreover, MALT lymphoma-like lesions were induced in H. suis-infected Mongolian gerbils. Therefore, the possible involvement of this micro-organism in human gastric disease should not be neglected.
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae is the causative agent of porcine pleuropneumonia. The virulence factors of this microorganism involved in colonization and the induction of lung lesions have been thoroughly studied and some have been well characterized. A. pleuropneumoniae binds preferentially to cells of the lower respiratory tract in a process involving different adhesins and probably biofilm formation. Apx toxins and lipopolysaccharides exert pathogenic effects on several host cells, resulting in typical lung lesions. Lysis of host cells is essential for the bacterium to obtain nutrients from the environment and A. pleuropneumoniae has developed several uptake mechanisms for these nutrients. In addition to persistence in lung lesions, colonization of the upper respiratory tract – and of the tonsils in particular – may also be important for long-term persistent asymptomatic infection. Information on virulence factors involved in tonsillar and nasal cavity colonization and persistence is scarce, but it can be speculated that similar features as demonstrated for the lung may play a role.
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae; virulence factor; pig; respiratory disease
Summary: Helicobacters other than Helicobacter pylori have been associated with gastritis, gastric ulcers, and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma in humans. These very fastidious microorganisms with a typical large spiral-shaped morphology were provisionally designated “H. heilmannii,” but in fact they comprise at least five different Helicobacter species, all of which are known to colonize the gastric mucosa of animals. H. suis, which has been isolated from the stomachs of pigs, is the most prevalent gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter species in humans. Other gastric non-H. pylori helicobacters colonizing the human stomach are H. felis, H. salomonis, H. bizzozeronii, and the still-uncultivable “Candidatus Helicobacter heilmannii.” These microorganisms are often detected in the stomachs of dogs and cats. “Candidatus Helicobacter bovis” is highly prevalent in the abomasums of cattle but has only occasionally been detected in the stomachs of humans. There are clear indications that gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter infections in humans originate from animals, and it is likely that transmission to humans occurs through direct contact. Little is known about the virulence factors of these microorganisms. The recent successes with in vitro isolation of non-H. pylori helicobacters from domestic animals open new perspectives for studying these microorganisms and their interactions with the host.
Three precisely defined deletion mutants of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis were constructed, a guanine auxotrophic ΔguaB mutant, a nonflagellated ΔfliC mutant, and an auxotrophic and nonflagellated ΔguaB ΔfliC double mutant. All three mutants were less invasive than the wild-type strain in primary chicken cecal epithelial cells and the human epithelial cell line T84 and less efficiently internalized in the chicken macrophage cell line HD11. The ΔfliC mutant was pathogenic in orally infected BALB/c mice, while the ΔguaB mutant was attenuated and conferred protection against a challenge with the pathogenic parent strain. The ΔguaB ΔfliC double mutant was totally asymptomatic and conferred better protection than the ΔguaB mutant. This indicates that the major flagellar protein flagellin is not required for efficient vaccination of BALB/c mice against Salmonella infection. The ΔguaB ΔfliC mutant was also safe for vaccination of 1-day-old chickens. After two immunizations, it induced statistically significant protection against infection of the internal organs of the birds by a virulent S. enterica serovar Enteritidis challenge strain but not against intestinal colonization. These data demonstrate that nonflagellated attenuated Salmonella mutants can be used as marker vaccines.
The use of concentrated platelet-rich plasma (cPRP) as a source of growth factors is reported to be beneficial for an enhanced osteogenesis in spine surgery. Today both bovine and autologous thrombin is used for activating the platelets and thus releasing the growth factors. In order to prevent transmission of organisms and the development of antibodies, autologous thrombin seems to be the logical choice. However, the preparation of autologous thrombin is cumbersome and consumes a part of the cPRP. In order to overcome this problem, a commercial autologous thrombin kit (activAT, Dideco, a Sorin Group company, Italy) has been developed which produces autologous thrombin out of platelet-poor plasma. A possible disadvantage of this kit could be the rest fraction of 1.18% of ethanol in the platelet gel. In a pig model, the influence of different ethanol concentrations on the ischiadic nerve was studied. The study consisted out of four groups; a control group (n=6), a group with platelet gel 0% ethanol (n=6), a group with platelet gel 1.18% ethanol (n=6) and a group with platelet gel 3.8% ethanol (n=7). In all the groups, the ischiadic nerve was dissected and the myelin sheet opened after which the wound was closed (control group) or one of the three therapies was applied. After 12 h, the animal was sacrificed and the ischiadic nerve was submitted for histological examination. Myelin sheaths appeared normal in all cases. No axonal swelling was observed. No statistically significant differences were observed for neutrophilic and eosinophilic infiltration nor for collagen necrosis between groups. Platelet gel prepared by the use of a commercial autologous thrombin kit and containing 1.18% of ethanol can be safely used on nerves.
Platelet gel; Autologous thrombin; Ethanol; Nerves; Spine
Helicobacter pullorum is present in approximately one third of the chickens in Belgium.
A total of 110 broilers from 11 flocks were tested for Helicobacter pullorum by polymerase chain reaction; positive samples were reexamined with a conventional isolation method. H. pullorum isolates were examined by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting for interstrain genetic diversity and relatedness. Sixteen isolates from cecal samples from 2 different flocks were obtained. AFLP analysis showed that these isolates and 4 additional isolates from a different flock clustered according to their origin, which indicates that H. pullorum colonization may occur with a single strain that disseminates throughout the flock. Strains isolated from different hosts or geographic sources displayed a distinctive pattern. H. pullorum is present in approximately one third of live chickens in Belgium and may represent a risk to human health.
Helicobacter pullorum; poultry; isolation; PCR; amplified fragment length polymorphism; research
Feces from 531 patients with gastroenteritis and from 100 clinically healthy individuals were tested for Helicobacter pullorum by use of PCR. Samples positive by PCR were qualified for isolation. H. pullorum DNA was demonstrated to be present in feces from 4.3% of patients with gastrointestinal disease but also in feces from 4.0% of clinically healthy persons. One strain was isolated from one patient with gastrointestinal disease.
Tightly coiled bacteria are a rare cause of gastric pathology in humans and represent a mixture of species for which a zoonotic origin is suspected. Similar organisms are common inhabitants of the gastric mucosae of carnivores and pigs. It was the goal of the present study to determine the actual occurrence of each individual Helicobacter species in human, canine, and feline stomachs in order to better understand the possible zoonotic significance. Gastric biopsy samples from humans with histological evidence of non-Helicobacter pylori spiral bacteria (n = 123) and samples from the gastric antrum, corpus, and cardia from dogs (n = 110) and cats (n = 43) were subjected to a multiplex PCR, enabling the identification of Helicobacter felis, Helicobacter bizzozeronii, Helicobacter salomonis, and “Candidatus Helicobacter suis.” A PCR for detecting H. pylori was applied to all human samples. Single infections with “Candidatus Helicobacter suis,” H. felis, H. bizzozeronii, H. salomonis, a hitherto unknown genotype of a non-H. pylori spiral organism (Helicobacter-like organism 135 [HLO135]), and H. pylori were identified in 30.9%, 8.9%, 2.4%, 11.4%, 7.3%, and 8.9% of the human biopsy samples, respectively. Mixed infections (16.3%) with two or even three of these were also found. In the canine stomach, H. bizzozeronii (70.0%) was encountered as the main spiral organism, while H. felis (62.7%) and HLO135 (67.4%) were the predominant Helicobacter species found in the feline gastric mucosa. Although the majority of human non-H. pylori organisms are Helicobacter species naturally occurring in the stomachs of pigs, cats, and dogs, the frequent identification of H. salomonis in human gastric biopsy samples is in contrast to its rare identification in pet carnivore samples, urging us to suspect other sources of infection.
Cats can shed antimicrobial drug−resistant Salmonella serotypes in the environment.
To determine whether cats were a risk for transmission of Salmonella to humans, we evaluated the excretion of Salmonella by pet cats. Rectal-swab specimens were taken from 278 healthy house cats, from 58 cats that died of disease, and from 35 group-housed cats. Group-housed cats were kept in one room with three cat trays and a common water and feed tray. Eighteen (51.4%) of 35 group-housed cats, 5 (8.6%) of 58 diseased cats (5/58), and 1 (0.36%) of 278 healthy house cats excreted Salmonella. Salmonella isolates were of serotypes Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Bovismorbificans and 4:i:-. Acquired antimicrobial resistance was found in serotype Typhimurium (resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline; to ampicillin; and to chloramphenicol) and 4:i:- strains (resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, sulfonamides, trimethoprim, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim). Cats that excrete Salmonella can pose a public health hazard to people who are highly susceptible to Salmonella, such as children, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons.
zoonoses; Salmonella Infections; cats; disease reservoirs; research
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium variant Copenhagen was isolated from 5 of 152 (3.3%) feral pigeons from the city of Ghent (Belgium) and from 26 pooled fecal samples from 114 pigeon lofts (22.8%). These isolates belonged to phage type (PT) 99. Seven of the pigeon isolates were further compared in vitro to five human variant Copenhagen isolates, 2 isolates of PT 208, 1 isolate each of PT 120 and U302, and a nontypeable isolate. No differences in invasiveness in human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells were found. The human strains, however, were able to multiply significantly more inside human THP-1 macrophages than the pigeon strains. After inoculation of mice with a pigeon PT 99 strain, high numbers of Salmonella bacteria were shed with the feces, the internal organs were heavily colonized, and the animals showed severe clinical symptoms resulting in death. In conclusion, the less-pronounced ability of the pigeon variant Copenhagen strains to multiply inside human macrophages than human strains as well as the lack of human PT 99 isolates during 2002, despite the relatively high frequency of this PT in the pigeon population, suggest these strains to be of low virulence to humans. However, the high virulence for mice of the tested strain implies that rodents may act as reservoirs.
Phage type 99 of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium variant Copenhagen strains isolated from pigeons were examined for the presence of genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns obtained with XbaI and BlnI from 38 pigeon strains were compared with those obtained from 89 porcine, poultry, and human strains of variant Copenhagen. Identical patterns with XbaI and four closely related patterns with BlnI were obtained with the pigeon strains, whereas 16 XbaI patterns were found with the other strains. The XbaI patterns of the pigeon strains showed a low genetic similarity to the patterns of the porcine, poultry, and human strains and invariably showed a low-molecular-weight band that was absent in the majority of the other strains. The virulence genes shdA, spvR, pefA, sopE, and spvB were uniformly present in six pigeon isolates representing the genetic diversity found with BlnI. These six pigeon-derived strains were highly cytotoxic for pigeon macrophages compared to three porcine strains. After experimental infection of pigeons with a pigeon strain, clinical symptoms, fecal shedding, and colonization of internal organs were more pronounced than those after infection with a porcine strain. These data suggest that the phage type 99 strains used in this study are highly adapted to pigeons and should be classified as a host-restricted lineage of the serovar Typhimurium.
A new specific and sensitive 16S ribosomal DNA-based PCR assay was developed. The assay targets a 78-bp DNA fragment unique to Helicobacter bizzozeronii, Helicobacter felis, and Helicobacter salomonis and can be used with freshly frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded gastric biopsy specimens.
The influence of the microtubule-associated motor protein kinesin on Chlamydia psittaci inclusion development in epithelial and fibroblast cell lines was addressed. Kinesin was blocked early after chlamydial internalization (4 h postinfection [p.i.]) and before the initiation of active chlamydial multiplication (8 h p.i.). Chlamydia development was monitored by fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy at different times during the cycle. In both host cell lines, kinesin blockage restricted mitochondria from the chlamydial vacuole. The effects of kinesin blockage on the C. psittaci replication cycle included the presence of multiple inclusions up to late in the cycle, the presence of enlarged pleomorphic reticulate bodies, and a delayed reappearance of elementary bodies. The last effect seems to be greater when kinesin is blocked early after infection. Our results show that kinesin activity is required for optimal development of these microorganisms, most probably acting through the apposition of mitochondria to the C. psittaci inclusions.
Between January 1992 and December 1996, Serpulina-like bacteria were demonstrated in intestinal tract lesions from 37 of 88 guinea pigs submitted to the University of Ghent in Ghent, Belgium, for necropsy because of disease and death from different unknown causes. All infected animals had a history of sudden death with minimal introductory clinical signs. Occasionally, they produced yellow, slimy feces or showed nervous signs, but the condition always had a fatal outcome within 24 h. When larger colonies of guinea pigs were involved, the disease spread very rapidly unless treatment with ronidazole was initiated. Lesions consisted of a catarrhal or hemorrhagic inflammation of the colon and cecum (typhlitis). Electron microscopy demonstrated the presence of large numbers of Serpulina-like organisms adhering to the cecal mucosae of these animals. Attempts to isolate the agents failed. The organisms did not stain by an immunofluorescence technique for the detection of Serpulina hyodysenteriae. The present data provide evidence that intestinal Serpulina-like organisms can be important as a cause of disease in guinea pigs.