Serology and semen culture for the diagnosis of Brucella ovis infection in chronically infected rams

Serology and semen culture for the diagnosis of Brucella ovis infection in chronically infected rams
Peer reviewed

Abstract

The serological response to Brucella ovis and the shedding of the organism in semen was followed for a period of 13-14 months in 42 naturally infected rams. Most rams remained chronically infected and excreted the organism in their semen throughout the investigation. B. ovis was isolated from 87.9% of the semen samples from the infected rams. The most common sites from which B. ovis could be isolated at necropsy were the epididymides and accessory sexual glands. In one ram the organism was isolated from lung, spleen, kidney and iliac lymph nodes. Three rams ceased to shed B. ovis in their semen during the course of the investigation. Seventy-five (11%) of 686 sera from infected rams were negative in the complement fixation test (CFT) although 76% and 77% of CFT-negative sera were positive in the gel diffusion precipitin test (GDT) and enzyme labelled immunosorbent assay (ELISA) respectively. The high incidence of CFT-negative infected rams was due to the selection for the investigation of many rams with histories of negative or vacillating CFT titres. Sera from five rams which never shed B. ovis in their semen reacted erratically in the three serological tests. The five rams were from heavily infected flocks and were kept in contact with infected rams throughout the investigation.

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