Pasteurella multocida is a zoonotic, gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium which causes significant morbidity and mortality in both humans and animals (domestic and wild). P. multocida is responsible for causing fowl cholera in poultry, hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle, and atrophic rhinitis in pigs. Humans are usually infected from bites or scratches from domestic dogs or cats.
P. multocida belongs to the genus Pasteurella, which is comprised of commensal and opportunistic bacterial pathogens found in the mouth, saliva and upper respiratory tract of domestic and wild animals, especially dogs and cats. P. multocida can enter the host through the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, conjunctiva, and cutaneous wounds. Chronically infected carrier and convalescent birds are a major source of infection because carrier birds shed the bacteria for life.
P. multocida can survive in the environment for up to 2 weeks and in dried blood for up to 8 days. If separated from organic material, P. multocida is destroyed easily by common disinfectants, sunlight, drying, and at temperatures >56°C.