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Keywords:

  • Erythrocebus patas;
  • Macaca fuscata;
  • Macaca mulatta;
  • Macaca radiata;
  • nested PCR;
  • Papio hamadryas;
  • RAPD-PCR;
  • Rattus rattus;
  • yersiniosis

In the last three decades, several monkeys reared in outdoor/indoor–outdoor breeding colonies and cages of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, died of yersiniosis caused by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, necessitating introduction of a method to detect the bacteria rapidly and thus allow preventive measures to be undertaken. A rapid nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for identification of Y. pseudotuberculosis in fecal samples and a random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR approach for distinguishing between bacterial strains were therefore developed. Yersinia pseudotuberculosis isolates from monkey specimens were found to be classifiable into several types. To determine the source of infection, hundreds of fecal samples of wild rats, pigeons, and sparrows were collected from around the breeding colonies and cages, and subjected to PCR analyses. Yersinia pseudotuberculosis was detected in 1.7% of the fecal samples of wild rats. The DNA fingerprints of the bacteria revealed by RAPD-PCR were the same as that of one strain isolated from macaques, suggesting the wild rat to be a possible source of infection.