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THE letter from Phil Watson and others (VR, January 21, 2012, vol 170, pp 82–84) regarding the diagnosis of Mycoplasma/Ureaplasma abortion in cattle suggests this group of pathogens should be considered within the surveillance role of the AHVLA and SAC as a new emerging disease.
These anaerobic intracellular microorganisms, together with Acholeplasma, are ubiquitous in nature. They include some of the smallest bacteria known to microbiological science, have no cell wall and are highly pleomorphic. They are not killed by antibiotics that act by destroying bacterial cell walls. Specific organisms are commensals found within the mucosa of orifices that exit the body, including the oral and nasal cavities, vagina/vulva and penile urethra. The specific bacterial species vary according to the mammal that is colonised: in the female reproductive tract, for example, Ureaplasma diversum is found in cattle, Ureaplasma urealyticum …