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First detection of ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemolamae’ infection in alpacas in England
  1. P. Crosse, BVSC, MVetMed, MRCVS1,
  2. R. Ayling, PhD2,
  3. C. Whitehead, BVM&S, MS, DACVIM, MRCVS1,
  4. B. Szladovits, DVM, MRCVS, DipACVP (Clin Path)1,
  5. K. English, BSC, BVetMed, RFCPath MRCVS1,
  6. D. Bradley, BSc2 and
  7. L. Solano-Gallego, VetMed, PhD, DipECVCP, MRCVS1
  1. Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK
  2. Mycoplasma Group, Department of Bacteriology, Veterinary Laboratories Agency (Weybridge), Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: pcrosse{at}

This is the first report of detection of Candidatus Mycoplasma haemolamae in alpacas in England. The primary case occurred in a three year-old male alpaca in the south-east of England which presented with a history of progressive weight loss, lethargy, swelling of the scrotum and pale mucous membranes. Blood smear examination revealed a moderate, regenerative anaemia, with numerous small basophilic coccoid structures consistent with Candidatus M haemolamae. To confirm the presence of Candidatus M haemolamae, a portion of the 16S rDNA gene was amplified and analysed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). 16S rDNA gene sequencing showed a 99.8 per cent homology with Candidatus M haemolamae sequences deposited in GenBank. Subsequently, a cross-sectional study was carried out to investigate the presence of Candidatus M haemolamae infection in the alpaca herd from which the primary case was detected (n=131). Blood smear examinations and PCR with DGGE were used and compared with a species-specific PCR. The prevalence of infection when PCR positive results were combined was 29 per cent. A substantial agreement between the PCR/DGGE and the species-specific PCR was found (κ=0.86). A significant association was also found between age and infection (P=0.04) while no significant association was found with sex or origin.

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