Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) cause diseases in humans and animals, affecting organs outside the alimentary canal. In recent years, ExPEC have been reported as a cause of fatal pneumonia in dogs, cats, and in a horse. In the current report, a fatal case of pneumonia and pleuritis is described in a 4-week-old tiger (Panthera tigris) cub associated with ExPEC. The cub was presented with a sudden-onset respiratory illness and died after a few hours. Postmortem examination of the cub revealed an acute necrotizing pneumonia. The alveolar spaces were filled with large numbers of inflammatory cells (predominantly macrophages), edema, fibrin strands, and short bacillary bacteria. Escherichia coli O6:H31 was isolated in pure culture from the affected lung. It carried virulence genes cnf-1, sfa, fim, hlyD, and papG allele III, which are known to be associated with ExPEC strains. No evidence of infection by any other agent was detected. This is the first report, to the authors' knowledge, in which ExPEC has been associated with pneumonia in tigers.
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