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BACTERIA of the order Chlamydiales are obligate intracellular microorganisms that cause a broad spectrum of diseases in a wide variety of species (Corsaro and Venditti 2004). Chlamydophila psittaci infects birds and is the agent of psittacosis in human beings. In birds, it is characterised by an acute or chronic infection of the respiratory and digestive tracts (Corsaro and Venditti 2004). In addition, serovar B was isolated from a case of bovine abortion (Cox and others 1998).
Chlamydophila abortus is endemic among ruminants; it colonises the intestine and the genital tract (Corsaro and Venditti 2004). C abortus is the aetiological agent of enzootic abortion in sheep and goats and epizootic bovine abortion (EBA) in cattle (Longbottom 2004). Abortions, premature or full-term stillbirths and the birth of living but weak offspring may occur in affected flocks (Longbottom and Coulter 2003). C abortus is known to cause zoonotic infections in human beings, particularly pregnant women (Longbottom and Coulter 2003).
Chlamydophila pecorum is probably the predominant chlamydial species infecting the intestine of healthy ruminants and the genital tract of cattle (Jee and others 2004, Longbottom 2004, Mohamad and Rodolakis 2010). It is associated with abortion, polyarthritis, conjunctivitis, encephalomyelitis, pneumonia and enteric infection in ruminants; its zoonotic impact is unknown (Longbottom and Coulter 2003).
Molecular assays are considered to be the best methods to diagnose chlamydial infections.
The aim of the present study was to determine the occurrence of Chlamydophila species associated with late-term abortions in ruminants in Portugal, based on the detection of Chlamydophila species DNA by PCR-restriction endonuclease analysis (PCR-REA).
During the breeding seasons of 2005 to 2009, a total of 168 samples from cattle (n=43), sheep (n=59) and goats (n=66) with a known history of abortion were submitted to the laboratory. The small ruminant farms (29 goat …