What is Pasteurella multocida?

Pasteurella multocida is a Gram-negative coccobacillus and well known for affecting a wide range of mammals, including human [1]. P. multocida infections can cause serious diseases, such as fowl cholera, swine atrophic rhinitis, bovine haemorrhagic septicaemia and lower respiratory tract (LRT) infections (pneumonia and pleuritis), rabbit snuffles, human wound abscesses and meningitis followed by cat- or dog-inflicted injuries [2]. P. multocida infections also lead to big economic losses to animal husbandry worldwide. The general acceptable classification of P. multocida relies on different serotypes. Five serovar, A, B, D, E and F, have been classified based on different capsular antigens [3,4]. There are also sixteen somatic types based on the lipopolysaccharide antigens variation [5].

P. multocida has the typical characteristics of an opportunistic pathogen that is affected by various host- and pathogen specific determinants. Different forms exhibit significant differences in host pathogenicity, biochemical characteristics, culture characteristic and antigenicity, which may relevant to its various virulence of different serotypes [6]. Strains of serotype A, D and F produce capsules composed of hyaluronic acid, heparin and chondroitin, respectively [7]. Diseases caused by P. multocida generally depend on capsular type as serotype B and E cause hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle and buffalo [8], serotype A and F cause pneumonia in cattle [9,10], and serotype D causes atrophic rhinitis in pigs [11].

The first complete genome sequence of P. multocida was Pm70, isolated from avian species in 2001[12]. Since then, the complete or nearly complete genomes of over 125 P. multocida have been sequenced, including at least ten complete genomes from the species in the NCBI database on October 4, 2017. All of the currently available P. multocida genomes are between 1.438 and 2.699 Mbp in length and comprise a single circular genome with a G+C content of between 36.9 - 44%. The available data were used to identify a number of important similarities and differences between these strains and determine their virulence [2]. The Genomic analyses provide an important foundation and reference for future research on the mechanisms of pathogenesis, host specificity and virulence for this pathogen.

Fig 1. A SEM picture of bovine Pasteruella multocida serotype A (PmCQ2).   Fig 2. Cattle pneumonia infected by bovine Pasteruella multocida serotype A (PmCQ2).


1. Wilkie IW, Harper M, Boyce JD, Adler B (2012) Pasteurella multocida: diseases and pathogenesis. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 361: 1-22.
2. Boyce JD, Seemann T, Adler B, Harper M (2012) Pathogenomics of Pasteurella multocida. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 361: 23-38
3. CARTER GR (1955) Studies on Pasteurella multocida. I. A hemagglutination test for the identification of serological types. Am J Vet Res 16: 481-484.
4. Deangelis P L, Gunay N S, Toida T, et al. (2002) Identification of the capsular polysaccharides of Type D and F Pasteurella multocida as unmodified heparin and chondroitin, respectively[J]. Carbohydr Res. 337(17): 1547-1552.
5. Heddleston KL, Gallagher JE, Rebers PA (1972) Fowl cholera: gel diffusion precipitin test for serotyping Pasteruella multocida from avian species. Avian Dis 16: 925-936.
6. Shivachandra SB, Kumar AA, Gautam R, Singh VP, Saxena MK, et al. (2006) Identification of avian strains of Pasteurella multocida in India by conventional and PCR assays. Vet J 172: 561-564.
7. Townsend KM, Boyce JD, Chung JY, Frost AJ, Adler B (2001) Genetic organization of Pasteurella multocida cap Loci and development of a multiplex capsular PCR typing system. J Clin Microbiol 39: 924-929.
8. Shivachandra SB, Viswas KN, Kumar AA (2011) A review of hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle and buffalo. Anim Health Res Rev 12: 67-82.
9. Praveena PE, Periasamy S, Kumar AA, Singh N (2014) Pathology of experimental infection by Pasteurella multocida serotype A: 1 in buffalo calves. Vet Pathol 51: 1109-1112.
10. Jaglic Z, Jeklova E, Christensen H, Leva L, Register K, et al. (2011) Host response in rabbits to infection with Pasteurella multocida serogroup F strains originating from fowl cholera. Can J Vet Res 75: 200-208.
11. Blackall PJ, Fegan N, Pahoff JL, Storie GJ, McIntosh GB, et al. (2000) The molecular epidemiology of four outbreaks of porcine pasteurellosis. Vet Microbiol 72: 111-120.
12. May B J, Zhang Q, Li L L, et al. ( 2001) Complete genomic sequence of Pasteurella multocida, Pm70. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 98(6): 3460-3465.