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Res Vet Sci. 2011 Dec;91(3):e58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2010.11.014. Epub 2010 Dec 17.

Coxiella burnetii shedding and environmental contamination at lambing in two highly naturally-infected dairy sheep flocks after vaccination.

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NEIKER - Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario, Department of Animal Health, Berreaga 1, 48160 Derio, Bizkaia, Spain.


Abortion due to Coxiella burnetii was confirmed in the 2007/08 season in two naturally-infected dairy sheep flocks. Proportion of C. burnetii shedders and bacterial loads in vaginal mucus were high among aborted or lambed ewes, as was within-flock seroprevalence. Before the next reproductive season (2008/09) 75% of ewes and 50% of replacement lambs were vaccinated (Coxevac, CEVA Santé Animale) keeping the remaining as untreated controls. Compared with the previous year results when abortion outbreak started, a great reduction in the percentage of abortions, in the number of shedders and in the bacterial burden excreted by the ewes was found in both flocks. However, seroconversion in non-vaccinated yearlings from both flocks and the presence of C. burnetii DNA in bioaerosols taken at sheep premises at lambing indicated that infection was still active. No differences were observed between vaccinated and control groups in terms of proportion of C. burnetii shedders. These results suggest that optimal results of vaccination in heavily infected flocks may not be obtained in a short-term period.

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