Oral inoculation of neonatal MFI mice with enterotoxigenic strains of that possessed the K99 or F41 antigen or both resulted in severe diarrhoea with high mortality. The diarrhoea was associated with increased fluid in the gut, greatly increased numbers of in gut homogenates and reduced weight gain compared to control animals. Further studies with strain B44 demonstrated greatly increased numbers of on the surface of the intestinal mucosa and haemo-concentration. The infection was transmissible between litter-mates. There was no evidence of invasion of the intestinal tissue of infected animals. Gnotobiotic Balb C mice and endotoxin-resistant mice were susceptible to oral inoculation with bovine enterotoxigenic strains, but neonatal rats were not susceptible to infection with enterotoxigenic strains B44 or 431.

Porcine strains of that possessed K88 or 987P antigen did not infect neonatal MFI mice but an “atypical” porcine strain (431) which possessed both K99 and F41 antigens caused diarrhoea and a high mortality. The disease in neonatal mice resembled acute diarrhoea caused by these bacteria in other species, particularly the calf, and the model should be of value in assessing the efficacy of therapeutic agents.


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