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Zoonotically Important Bacterial Diseases among Spotted Deer in West Bengal, India

S. K. Mukhopadhayay S. Ganguly S. Jana K. S. Singh
Vol 2(3), 152-154

A survey study was conducted to study the incidence of zoonotically significant bacterial diseases in spotted deer in different national parks, sanctuaries and deer parks of West Bengal, India which included three National parks (Buxa, Gorumara and Sudarban), six wild life sanctuaries (Mahananda, Jaldapara, Bethuadahari, Bibhutibhushan, Ballavpur and Ramnabagan) and five deer parks (Kumari Kangshabati, Adina, Gorchumuk, Jaipur and Jhargram) respectively. The overall study revealed that the mortality caused due to diseases (7.39% for tuberculosis and 5.92% for anthrax) were more in the Deer parks than in the National parks (3.78% for tuberculosis and 2.32% for anthrax) and Wild life Sanctuaries (7.83% for tuberculosis and 1.68% for anthrax). Prominent histopathological lesions characteristic for both the diseases were also revealed in the dead carcasses.

Keywords : Bacterial diseases Incidence Spotted deer Zoonotically significant


Spotted deer (Axis axis) is commonly affected with many bacterial diseases in captive and free range condition among which tuberculosis and anthrax outbreaks are quite common and significant. The infection also carries tremendous zoonotic potential due to its severity and chance of spreading among human and forest dwelling tribal population. Considering the immense importance of zoonotically important bacterial diseases in wildlife the present survey study was carried out with the objective of investigating on the incidence of occurrence of tuberculosis and anthrax in spotted deer populations in free living and semi-intensive conditions in different forests, wild life reserves, national parks and sanctuaries of West Bengal, India (Mukhopadhayay, 2011).

Materials and Methods

The wildlife survey was carried out in different National Parks, sanctuaries and deer parks in which information on the causes of mortality in spotted deer was obtained based on clinical and post-mortem examinations along with bacterial isolation studies from three National parks (Buxa, Gorumara and Sudarban), six wild life sanctuaries (Mahananda, Jaldapara, Bethuadahari, Bibhutibhushan, Ballavpur and Ramnabagan) and five deer parks (Kumari Kangshabati, Adina, Gorchumuk, Jaipur and Jhargram) respectively (Mukhopadhayay, 2011).


In tuberculosis, mortality rates in spotted deer were 4.69% in Buxa National park, 6.33% in Gorumara National park, 0.33% in Sundarban National park, 8.64% in Mahananda Wild life sanctuary, 4.54% in Jaldapara Wild life sanctuary, 13.04% in Bethuadahari Wild life sanctuary, 8.60% in Bibhutibhusan Wild life sanctuary, 6.32% in Ballavpur Wild life sanctuary and 4.44% in Ramnabagan Wild life sanctuary, 6.38% in Kumari Kangshabati Deer park, 9.75% in Adina Deer park, 13.09% in Gorchumuk Deer park and 9.09% in Jhargram Deer park. The overall mortality rate in spotted deer due to tuberculosis was recorded to be higher in deer parks than sanctuaries and National parks.

Deaths due to anthrax were recorded from Buxa National park (3.12%), Gorumara National park (3.79%), Sundarban National park (0.06%), Bethuadahari Wild life sanctuary (2.90%), Bibhutibhusan Wild life sanctuary (0.45%), Kumari Kangshabati Deer park (2.12%), Gorchumuk Deer park (4.34%) and Jhargram Deer park (3.63%) during the study period (Graph).


Mortality rate   =           Number died


Total number surveyed

Fibrinous pleuritis with polymorphonuclear  and mononuclear infiltration was observed histopathologically. Also, edema, fibrin and neutrophilic infiltration was seen. Alveolar and bronchiolar lumen was filled with exudates containing predominantly neutrophils. The bronchiolar epithelium showed desquamation and degeneration.

Mononuclear cell infiltration was observed in bronchioles and cirrhosis in liver was of monolobular kind with central vein and sinusoids heavily congested. There was cloudy swelling, vacuolation and necrosis with focal hemorrhage in the hepatic area.

Graph. Pooled mortality rates due to tuberculosis and anthrax in different National parks, Sanctuaries and Deer parks of West Bengal, India.


The results of the present study were in agreement with findings of Acharjyo and Rao (1991) who recorded mortality in 11.33% and 12% at Nandankanan deer park, Orissa, India. However, Rathore and Khera  (1984)  recorded mortality up to 47.22% of the total deaths in spotted deer at different zoological parks, National parks, sanctuaries and reserve forests in different parts of India during 1975-77. The prevalence of tuberculosis has also been reported by Arora (2000) in Zoological Garden, Bhilai (MP), India which was confirmed after ZN method of staining followed by cultural examination to be belonging to Mycobacterium spp.

Rathore and Khera (1984) also had reported cases of anthrax mortality at different zoological parks, two National parks, and wild life sanctuaries including Sundarban tiger reserve. Sinha (1975) and Jana and Ghosh (2001) also reported anthrax in captive spotted deer. Mehrotra et al. (2000) recorded anthrax in spotted deer (Axis axis) at Zoological Park, Jaipur, India. Jana and Ghosh (2001) reported a fatal outbreak for the first time in captive spotted deer (Axis axis) an Banpukhuria deer park in Bankura, West Bengal, India. The outbreak caused death of five spotted deer (4 male and 1 female deer respectively) of 3-5 years age group, leaving more than 120 deer at risk.

The histopathological observations in pulmonary region were similar to the findings of Acharjyo and Rao (1991) and Porter et al. (1995). The findings in hepatic region were in agreement with those described by Sinha (1981) in buffaloes and Rao and Acharjyo (1993) in Sambar.


The results of the study could be used for further similar works. The concerned authorities may be directed to undertake steps to prevent such deaths.


The authors are thankful to the Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences for carrying out this research work.


Acharjyo, L.N. and Rao, A.T (1991) Histopathological diagnosis of pulmonary lesions in captive Indian ruminants. Indian J. Anim. Health. 30(1): 17-25.

Arora, B.M (2000) Tuberculosis an impediment to wildlife conservation. Souvenir of 125th Anniversary of Zoological Society. Calcutta, pp. 81-91.

Rathore, B.S. and Khera, S.S (1984) A survey on infections and parasitic diseases of wildlife in captivity and from living state. Indian J. Vet. Path. 8: 43-48.

Sinha, S.K (1975) Wildlife losses de to diseases in Indian wild animals. Cheetal. 17(2): 25-38.

Jana, D. and Ghosh, M (2001) An outbreak of anthrax in captive spotted deer. Indian Vet. Med. J. 25: 194.

Mahrotra, P.K., Mathur, B.B.L., Bhargava, S. and Choudhary, S (2000) Anthrax in artiodactilids (spotted deer – Axis axis) at Zoological park, Jaipur (Rajasthan). Indian J. Comp. Microbiol. Immunol. Infect. Dis. 21(1): 81-82.

Mukhopadhayay, S.K. (2011) Diseases of wild spotted deer. AV Akademikerverlag. ISBN: 978-3-639-36626-6.

Porter, J.F., Connor, K., Krueger, N., Hodgson, J.C. and Donachie, W. 1995. Predisposion of specific pathogen free lambs to Pasteurella haemolytica pneumonia by Bordetella parapertussis infection. J. Comp. Path. 112: 381-389.

Rao A.T. and Acharjyo, L.N. 1992. Mortality in some Indian deer at Nandankanan. Indian J. Vet. Pathol. 16(2): 120-121.

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