A flock of sheep in Central Sicily was affected by a severe outbreak of contagious agalactia (CA) caused by Mycoplasma agalactiae, affecting nearly 30% resulting in a large drop in milk production. Many ewes had warm and swollen udders that often became sclerotic and was accompanied by keratoconjunctivitis and arthritis in both adults and young. As antibiotic treatment appeared ineffective, the whole flock was given two doses of an inactivated vaccine against M agalactiae two weeks apart. A small group was selected for close examination and additional tests. A fortnight after the last vaccination mycoplasma excretion fell in all but one of the selected ewes and was undetectable in all but two animals two weeks after that. In nearly all the selected ewes, there was an improvement in milk quality and udder condition. This work provided preliminary evidence for the continued use of CA vaccines to slow or prevent disease progression.
- contagious agalactia
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Contributors GRL is the project leader responsible for planning the work and drafting the paper. RP was responsible for sampling handling and diagnostic work. SA is the local public veterinarian who identified the outbreak and carried out the treatment and vaccination. GM is an expert from Sardinia who provided consultancy and performed some diagnostic tests. RAJN is an advisor to the IZS Sicily on mycoplasma diseases and completed the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional data are available.
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