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CONTAGIOUS agalactia (CA) and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia caused by Mycoplasma agalactiae and Mycoplasma capricolum subspecies capripneumoniae, respectively, are serious infections of small ruminants and consequently have been listed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as diseases of importance for international trade (OIE 2008). CA is found mainly in countries surrounding the Mediterranean where traditional dairy farming methods are used for milk and cheese production (Nicholas and others 2008). Other mycoplasmas have been implicated in disease in small ruminants including M mycoides subspecies capri (which now incorporates the subspecies M mycoides subspecies mycoides LC) and M capricolum subspecies capricolum.
The authors report severe outbreaks of disease in goat herds in two different parts of Sicily which were chiefly characterised by severe polyarthritis, septicaemia and respiratory disease. The first occurred in the spring of 2008 in a permanently housed herd of 400 goats of the Camosciata delle Alpi breed in the district of Caltanissetta (farm A). An investigation was carried out following the death of three one to four-week-old kids which had presented with severe polyarthritis, lethagy, inability to move, inappetence and respiratory disease. Inspection of the remaining herd showed another 10 per cent of the kids with similar though less severe clinical signs including laboured breathing. The problem appears to have begun sporadically the previous year following the purchase of goats from northern Italy but …