First finding of Streptococcus phocae infections in mink (Neovison vison)

Nanett Kvist Nikolaisen*, Mikkel Lindegaard, Ulrike Lyhs, Mikael Lenz Strube, Mette Sif Hansen, Tina Struve, Mariann Chriél, Lars Bogø Jensen, Karl Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Streptococcus phocae infection has been described in salmon, sea otters, and several families of pinnipeds. The pathology of the infected animals has mainly been located in the respiratory tract and reproductive system, and with indications of septicemia. In this study, we report the finding of S. phocae in diagnostic material from three unrelated cases of farmed mink. Since S. phocae initially has been described in pinnipeds, two isolates from wild harbor seals were included. All isolates originated from Denmark. To our knowledge, this is the first report of S. phocae infection in mink. The animals (three mink, two seals) were necropsied, and samples were collected for bacteriology, virology, and histopathology. Additionally, the S. phocae isolates were whole genome sequenced and compared to sequences of previously reported isolates from other host species. S. phocae was isolated from the lungs of one mink and one seal with bacteremia, and from one seal with pneumonia. The two remaining mink had dermal infections on the paws and S. phocae was isolated from the lesions. The analysis of the sequence data showed that the three mink isolates and one seal isolate were closely related. Further investigation is needed to conclude whether S. phocae is establishing as commensal in farmed mink and to uncover the infection related pathology in mink. Streptococcus phocae has been described as an emerging pathogen in other species, therefore future awareness and surveillance of this pathogen is crucial.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • S. phocae
  • Mink
  • Harbor seal
  • Phoca vitulina
  • Whole genome sequencing
  • Pathology


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