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Am J Vet Res. 1987 Jan;48(1):91-5.

Experimental infection and abortion of pregnant guinea pigs with a unique spirillum-like bacterium isolated from aborted ovine fetuses.


Study was made of the pathogenicity of a spirillum-like, anaerobic, gram-negative bacterium, originally isolated from aborted lambs, for pregnant guinea pigs. Reproducible conditions for propagation and preservation of the bacterium were determined as requisite for the preparation of cultures for animal inoculation. A preliminary experiment was done with 10 pregnant guinea pigs to test for an infective dose of organisms that would produce abortion. High-passage cultures (n = 50) were used to inoculate these guinea pigs intraperitoneally. Six of 10 guinea pigs aborted, and the organism was cultured from fetal tissues of 5 guinea pigs. Isolates from 3 of the 6 guinea pigs were propagated through 4 passages on blood agar and used to infect 3 groups, each of 5 guinea pigs. A 4th group of 5 guinea pigs was inoculated with the original culture. Three of 5 animals in the first 3 groups, which had been given the low-passage cultures from the preliminary trial, and 2 of 5 guinea pigs in the 4th group, which had been given the original culture, aborted. Antibody against the spirillum was detected in 19 of 30 inoculated guinea pigs. The major microscopic lesions were acute suppurative placentitis and splenitis. This bacterium retained pathogenic properties sufficient to cause infection, abortion, and microscopic lesions in two-thirds of the guinea pigs, in spite of high in vitro passage. The organism has unique ultrastructures, and its genus and species are yet to be determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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