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Severe outbreaks of polyarthritis in kids caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies capri in Sicily
  1. S. Agnello, DVM1,
  2. M. Chetta, DVM1,
  3. D. Vicari, DVM1,
  4. R. Mancuso, DVM1,
  5. C. Manno, BSc1,
  6. R. Puleio, DVM1,
  7. A. Console, BSc2,
  8. R. A. J. Nicholas, MSc, PhD, FRCPath3 and
  9. G. R. Loria, DVM PhD1
  1. Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia, 90129 Palermo, Italy
  2. Istituto Sperimentale Zootecnico per la Sicilia, 90136 Palermo, Italy
  3. Mycoplasma Group, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency - Weybridge, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicholas, e-mail: robin.nicholas{at}

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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 …

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