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Vet Microbiol. 2009 Mar 16;135(1-2):112-21. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.09.030. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Protective adaptive immunity to Chlamydophila abortus infection and control of ovine enzootic abortion (OEA).

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Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Midlothian, EH26 0PZ Scotland, UK.


Ovine enzootic abortion (OEA) remains a major problem in sheep-rearing countries despite the availability of protective vaccines. The causative agent, Chlamydophila abortus, is a Gram-negative bacterium that can induce a persistent, subclinical infection in non-pregnant sheep. The development of a new safe, effective and practical vaccine requires a detailed understanding of host-pathogen interactions and the identification of clear correlates of protection. Since disease (abortion) is only observed during pregnancy, the nature of host immunity to C. abortus and the specialised immunological features that permit maternal acceptance of the semi-allogeneic fetus are central to the pathogenesis of OEA. We review the current literature on persistence of C. abortus, host immunity to infection and mechanisms of abortion. We identify the key outstanding questions surrounding OEA and discuss the current knowledge gaps with a view to developing improved control strategies.

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