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Experimental infection of pregnant ewes with Listeria monocytogenes
  1. M Gitter,
  2. C Richardson and
  3. E Boughton


Eight 18-month-old ewes were infected orally with Listeria monocytogenes between 77 and 91 days of pregnancy. Only one ewe aborted, 10 days after the first infecting dose, at 94 days of gestation; L monocytogenes was isolated from several sites in both its aborted fetuses. Two days after the first infecting dose all the ewes exhibited mild illness and pyrexia lasting for two to three days but the ewe which aborted was seriously ill until nine to 10 days after aborting. Agglutination tests carried out on 2-mercaptoethanol reduced sera revealed a strong immunological response in all the infected ewes but in the ewe which aborted this response was delayed. Four uninfected ewes which were kept as controls remained healthy throughout the experiment and showed no evidence of 2-mercaptoethanol resistant antibodies to L monocytogenes. Growth retardation lines, occurring at the time of and after experimental infection, were found in the bones of 14 of 17 newborn lambs in both the infected and control groups; in the aborted lambs these lines occurred before the infection.

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