A primiparous white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) gave birth to a calf overnight after approximately 16 mo of gestation. The calf was found dead in the morning. Necrosuppurative placentitis with bacterial inclusions suggestive of coxiellosis was diagnosed histologically, and Coxiella burnetii was identified in fetal tissues and placenta by polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. Another primiparous female from the same herd aborted later that year after approximately 15 mo of gestation, and coxiellosis was similarly diagnosed in fetal tissues and on vaginal shedding. Estimates of exposure time, duration of vaginal shedding, and phase I and phase II antibody dynamics were determined retrospectively and prospectively for the two confirmed cases. Biosecurity measures were put in place to prevent guests, staff, and conspecific exposure to the organism. No other confirmed cases have occurred in the collection 3 yr after the initial cases. Coxiellosis outbreaks could represent an emerging threat to conservation efforts and ex situ white rhinoceros breeding programs.
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