An outbreak of abortion in Afshari sheep with probable involvement of Campylobacter fetus


1 Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran

2 Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran


BACKGROUND:Abortion is one of the most important factors
reducing lambing rate and consequently profitability of sheep
farms. In addition to financial losses, it is also important from a
zoonotic point of view. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was
to investigate bacterial abortifacient agents in an outbreak of
abortion occurring in Afshari sheep in the northwest of Zanjan
province. METHODS:Vaginal swab samples were collected from
217 Afshari ewes (129 samples were taken from aborted ewes, 3
samples from ewes with crippled and deformed lambs, and 85
samples from animals that had given birth to healthy lambs) from
reported flocks involved in outbreak. Swabs were examined by
PCR assay to detect DNAfrom Coxiella burnetii, Chlamydophila
abortus, Salmonella enterica, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter
fetus, Brucella ovis and Leptospira interrogans. RESULTS:
Based on the results, only DNA of Campylobacter was detected
in the samples. A 266 bp fragment specific for Campylobacter
was amplified from 51.52% and 34.12% samples belonging to
aborted and non-aborted ewes, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:
Significant presence of the bacterium in aborted ewes (p<0.001)
compared to the non-aborted groups with odd ratio of 3,
emphasizes that Campylobacter could be involved in the
outbreak of the abortion. Considering the importance of the
disease, prophylactic measures are needed to reduce the disease.
However, further investigations are required to determine the
impact of this bacterium in prevalence of abortion in sheep in
other areas.