In the last 7 yr, three female South American sea lions (Otaria byronia) were diagnosed postmortem with Mycobacterium pinnipedii infections. All of these animals were wild-caught and in captivity for at least 8 yr. Adjacent to the exhibit of the South American sea lions, Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) and crested porcupines (Hystrix cristata) are housed and cared for by the same keepers. Further investigations revealed M. pinnipedii-infections in all three neighbouring species. None of the staff working in this area tested positive.
All of the remaining animals were tested using various diagnostic methods. The diagnostic methods included comparative intradermal tuberculin testing, radiographs, PCR and culture of sputum sample, Rapid Test (RT) based on lateral flow technology (ElephantTB-STAT-PAK), multi-antigen print immunoassay (MAPIA) and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). The ELISA, as well as the RT, that provided a result within 20 min after blood sampling and that was supported by the MAPIA, delivered valuable information and will supplement the compilation of diagnostic tools for this zoonotic disease.