Experimental Brucella ovis infection in pregnant ewes
Forty yearling Brucella-free ewes were inoculated with Brucella ovis by the conjunctival route in mid or late first pregnancy. Only a few ewes excreted B ovis during pregnancy and gave birth to stillborn lambs, but most of them excreted the organism at lambing or during lactation. One of the 11 lambs which were born alive but died before they were weaned was found to be infected postmortem. In contrast, none of the 46 surviving lambs which were reared in isolation until adulthood, was found to be infected. At weaning, the 40 ewes were mated again with five Brucella-free rams. Although many of the ewes excreted B ovis, none of the rams was found to be infected when necropsied after mating. Most of the ewes that became pregnant, all having excreted B ovis during their first pregnancy, cleared the infection during the second pregnancy. However, three remained persistently infected and excreted B ovis in their milk throughout the second lactation. None of the lambs born to these three ewes was found to be infected when necropsied at weaning.
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