Veterinary Record 121:12-13 doi:10.1136/vr.121.1.12
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A disease resembling louping-ill in sheep in the Basque region of Spain


A clinical syndrome resembling louping-ill which primarily affects lambs and yearlings in the Basque region of Spain is described. The disease has been observed for several years during May and June after the sheep flocks have been taken to the mountain grazings where the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) is known to occur. Examination of the brain from one of the affected animals revealed histological changes indistinguishable from those caused by louping-ill virus. In addition antibody that reacted with louping-ill virus antigen was detected in the serum of 57 per cent of the sheep tested from the affected flocks but in only 0.8 per cent of sera from flocks free of the disease. These preliminary results suggest that louping-ill or a related tick-borne virus is responsible for ovine encephalomyelitis in Spain.

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