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Sources of Streptococcus dysgalactiae in English and Welsh sheep flocks affected by infectious arthritis (joint ill)
  1. S. J. Rutherford, BSc, MSc, PhD1,
  2. A. N. Rycroft, BSc, PhD, C.Biol, FSB, FRCPath2 and
  3. A. L. Ridler, BVSc, PhD3
  1. 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL97TA, UK
  2. 2Department of Pathology and Pathogen Biology, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL97TA, UK
  3. 3Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  1. E-mail for correspondence: A.L.Ridler{at}


In order to investigate sheep sources of Streptococcus dysgalactiae in flocks affected with joint ill, 10 sheep flocks in England and Wales with laboratory-confirmed cases of infectious arthritis (joint ill) caused by S dysgalactiae were visited during a disease outbreak while a further four flocks were visited during the lambing period in the year following an outbreak. A total of 5239 samples were collected for bacterial culture from 797 ewes and their 1314 lambs. S dysgalactiae was isolated from nine of 894 samples (1 per cent) on farms visited during an outbreak, and from 7 of 4462 samples (0.2 per cent) collected in the year following an outbreak. The 16 samples from which S dysgalactiae was isolated came from the vaginas of eight ewes, milk of one ewe, navels of four lambs, mouths of two lambs and noses of one lamb. In vitro testing of the survival of S dysgalactiae on straw, hay and in water at different temperatures was performed, and it was isolated from these substrates for up to 42, 35 and 0 days, respectively.

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