The first report of ovine cerebral neosporosis and evaluation of Neospora caninum prevalence in sheep in New South Wales

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Veterinary Parasitology, 2010, 170 (1-2), pp. 137 - 142
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Presence of Neospora caninum DNA was detected in the brain and spinal cord of an adult Merino sheep suspected of dying with acute non-suppurative meningoencephalitis and mild to moderate non-suppurative myelitis. The most severe neurological lesions were found in the midbrain at the rostral coliculi with moderate to severe multifocal vasculitis and gliosis. As this was the first known occurrence of cerebral disease in sheep in Australia caused by N. caninum, we surveyed sera from five sheep properties in New South Wales (NSW) to obtain information on the likely prevalence of N. caninum infection in NSW sheep flocks. Serology using a commercial indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed no N. caninum antibody-positive sheep (n=184). However an observed prevalence for N. caninum antibodies using a commercially available competitive ELISA was 2.2% (5/232). We conclude that although the diagnosis of fatal ovine cerebral neosporosis is of importance to our surveillance program for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) exclusion, sheep in NSW are not commonly infected with N. caninum and this species likely plays only a minor role in the life cycle of this parasite in Australia. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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