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June 14, 1985

Serious Pasteurella multocida Infections From Lion and Tiger Bites

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Dr Burdge) and Pediatrics (Drs Scheifele and Speert), Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

JAMA. 1985;253(22):3296-3297. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350460096030

DOG and domestic cat bites are major public health problems,1-3 and guidelines for their management have been established as a result of careful microbiological4-6 and clinical studies.7-10Pasteurella multocida is an important human pathogen, and its association with wound infections from animal bites is well recognized.11

Serious P multocida infection from the bites of "large cats," such as the lion, tiger, panther, and leopard, has rarely been reported. We have cared for two patients who developed serious P multocida infection after encounters with such "big cats." The first patient developed pyogenic arthritis of the shoulder after a lion bite, and the second developed purulent meningitis within hours of being bitten by an adult bengal tiger. In both cases, the organism was inoculated directly into the joint or subarachnoid space by the deeply penetrating canine teeth of the animals.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.—  A young Masai