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Vet Microbiol. 2002 Feb 26;85(1):55-60.

Shedding of Coxiella burnetii in ewes in two pregnancies following an episode of Coxiella abortion in a sheep flock.

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INRA Tours-Nouzilly, Pathologie Infectieuse et Immunologie, 37380 Nouzilly, France.


Coxiella burnetii infection in pregnant sheep typically causes abortion or the birth of weak lambs. Two C. burnetii-related abortions in a group of 34 pregnant ewes were reported at their first lambing in our research institute. The seroprevalence of C. burnetii infection and bacteria shedding were investigated using an ELISA and PCR, respectively, during the course of two subsequent pregnancies. None of the ewes examined seroconverted from negative to positive at the time of the second and the third parturition and most of the ewes that were seropositive at the abortion episode remained positive throughout the investigation. The two successive pregnancies resulted in the birth of healthy lambs without PCR evidence of Coxiella infection from placenta and vaginal swabs taken postpartum. PCR assay performed on vaginal swabs taken from all animals 1, 5 or 12 days after the second lambing were also negative for Coxiella. However, one ewe that had previously experienced C. burnetii shedding at the first lambing excreted the bacteria in the genital tract after the third parturition. The bacteria could not be detected by PCR in milk and faecal samples taken up to 12 days after both parturitions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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