Role of Chlamydophila abortus in ovine and caprine abortion in Sardinia, Italy

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Between 1999–2003, 14 321 sera and 646 abortion samples (498 foetuses and 148 placentae) were analysed from 807 sheep and goat farms distributed all over the island of Sardinia. After notification of abortion in a flock, sera collected at random from adult animals were examined to detect antibodies specific to Chlamydophila (C.) abortus by ELISA, whereas foetuses and placenta were analysed by PCR assay. Specific IgG antibodies were detected in 611 (4.8%) sheep and 106 (5.8%) goats. From a total of 2050 ovine and 151 caprine fetal samples including muscle, liver, abomasum, spleen, brain and placenta, 29 (1.4%) ovine and 1 (0.6%) caprine samples were C. abortus PCR-positive. Placenta was the tissue with the highest detection rate. These results indicate that the seroprevalence of C. abortus infection in sheep and goats is very low in Sardinia, and PCR results demonstrate that C. abortus has no significant role in abortion, especially in goats.

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