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Mycobacterium lepraemurium
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Order: Actinomycetales
Suborder: Corynebacterineae
Family: Mycobacteriaceae
Genus: Mycobacterium
Species: M. lepraemurium
Binomial name
Mycobacterium lepraemurium
Marchoux and Sorel 1912

Mycobacterium lepraemurium is the causative agent of feline leprosy. It causes granulomatous lesions, characteristic of the Mycobacterium genus.



Gram-positive, nonmotile and strongly acid-fast rods (3-5µm long). Slightly rounded ends.

Colony characteristics


  • Growth on inspissated 1% egg yolk medium at 30°C - 37°C within 4-5 weeks (using large inocula, confined to a concentrated area of the medium, egg white is inhibitory).


  • Cause of endemic disease of rats in various parts of the world, as well as feline leprosy.
  • feline leprosy is transmitted by bites from rats and other cats.
  • Disease occurs mainly in the skin and lymph nodes, causing induration, alopecia and eventual ulceration.
  • Nodular lesions, involving subcutaneous tissues, may be solitary or multiple and usually confined to the head region or the limbs. Nodules are fleshy and freely movable.
  • Surgical excision of the lesions is the preferred treatment.
  • Only the densely and uniformly stained forms appear to be infectious for animals, in contrast to the degenerate unevenly stained forms.

Type Strain

None specified due to difficulties in cultivation.


  • Marchoux,F., E. Sorel. 1912. Recherches sur la lèpre. Annales de l'Institut Pasteur (Paris), 26, 675-700.


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