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Vet J. 2011 Sep;189(3):257-67. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Oct 25.

Chlamydiaceae in cattle: commensals, trigger organisms, or pathogens?

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Institute of Molecular Pathogenesis at The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Naumburger Str. 96a, 07743 Jena, Germany.


Epidemiological data indicate that infection of cattle with chlamydiae such as Chlamydophila (C.) pecorum, C. abortus, C. psittaci and Chlamydia suis, is ubiquitous with mixed infections occurring frequently. The apparent lack of association between infection and clinical disease has resulted in debate as to the pathogenic significance of these organisms, and their tendency to sub-clinical and/or persistent infection presents a challenge to the study of their potential effects. However, recent evidence indicates that chlamydial infections have a substantial and quantifiable impact on livestock productivity with chronic, recurrent infections associated with pulmonary disease in calves and with infertility and sub-clinical mastitis in dairy cows. Data also suggest these infections manifest clinically when they coincide with a number of epidemiological risk factors. Future research should: (1) use relevant animal models to clarify the pathogenesis of bovine chlamydioses; (2) quantify the impact of chlamydial infection at a herd level and identify strategies for its control, including sub-unit vaccine development; and (3) evaluate the zoonotic risk of bovine chlamydial infections which will require the development of species-specific serodiagnostics.

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