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October 1, 1967

Infection Caused by Vibrio fetus: Report of Two Cases

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Hospital, Baltimore.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;120(4):459-464. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.04410010073010

Infections caused by Vibrio fetus originally interested the veterinarian, and in 1911 McFaydean and Stockman associated this organism with infectious abortion in cattle.1 Seven years later, Theobald Smith studied the pathogenesis of vibriosis in cattle and related fetal loss to interference of placental circulation by necrosis of fetal membranes.2,3 Cattle vibriosis is a venereal disease. The bull is asymptomatic and V fetus resides in the preputial mucosa. Conception is infrequent once the organism inhabits the cow's vagina. Abortion results when infection occurs during the first six months of pregnancy; bacteria are found in the uterus, placenta, and fetus. This disease ranks with brucellosis as a major cause of bovine fetal wastage.4 Infection by V fetus causes abortion in sheep and goats; the mode of transmission is unknown although contamination of food and water is suspected.5

Human abortion caused by V fetus was first noted in a pregnant housewife by Vinzent

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