Infectious microorganisms in mice (Mus musculus) purchased from commercial pet shops in Germany
In this study, we investigated the prevalence of infectious microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi and eukaryotic parasites) in mice from different pet shops in Germany; such animals may compromise the hygienic integrity of laboratory animal vivaria if private pet holders act as unintended vectors of infections carried by them. House mice sold as pets or feed specimens were purchased from different pet shops and tested for a comprehensive panel of unwanted microorganisms. We found a number of microorganisms in these pet shop mice, the most prevalent of which were Helicobacter species (92.9%), mouse parvovirus (89.3%), mouse hepatitis virus (82.7%), Pasteurella pneumotropica (71.4%) and Syphacia species (57.1%). Several microorganisms (e.g. mouse parvovirus, Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus, pneumonia virus of mice, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, Clostridium piliforme) had considerably higher prevalences than those reported in similar studies on wild mice from North America, Europe or Australia. Our study shows that direct contact with pet shop mice may constitute a risk for laboratory animal vivaria if hygienic precautions are not taken. However, even relatively simple precautions seem effective enough to hold the risk at bay.
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