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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