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Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2012 Mar-Apr;125(3-4):138-43.

Investigations concerning the prevalence of Coxiella burnetii and Chlamydia abortus in sheep in correlation with management systems and abortion rate in Lower Saxony in 2004.

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Niedersachsisches Landesamt fĂ¼r Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (LAVES)--Veterinärinstitut Hannover, Hannover, Germany


The intracellular bacteria Coxiella (C) burnetii and Chlamydia (Chl) abortus induce abortion in sheep and also affect humans. While Chl. abortus only infrequently infects humans, C burnetii is the aetiological agent of numerous Q fever outbreaks during the last decades. There is only limited knowledge about the prevalence of both pathogens in sheep, although sheep are involved in almost all Q fever outbreaks in Germany. The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of both pathogens in flocks located in Lower Saxony, Germany, in correlation to the management form and abortion rate. Serum samples of 1714 sheep from 95 flocks located in Lower Saxony were investigated by ELISA. 2.7% of these samples were positive, 1.3% showed inconclusive results in the C. burnetii-ELISA. Elevated intra-flock seroprevalences were only detected in three migrating flocks. Chlamydia-specific antibodies could be detected in 15.1% serum samples of mainly shepherded and migrating flocks. In one of these flocks with a high intra-flock seroprevalence for C burnetii (27%) and Chlamydia (44.9%), C burnetii was detected in 21.6% of the placenta samples of normal births and in 12.5% of the colostrum samples by PCR. Aborted fetuses and the corresponding placentas were negative in C burnetii-PCR, but in most of them and also in many other placenta samples Chl. abortus could be detected by PCR and DNA microarray. This survey shows a low overall prevalence of C. burnetii in sheep in Lower Saxony in the year 2004. However, three migrating flocks with a high intra-flock prevalence are localized in the southern parts of Lower Saxony. Spreading of C burnetii could occur, because of the large radius of grazing of all three flocks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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