Abortion in ewes associated with Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae

G. C. Fthenakis, G. Christodoulopoulos, L. Leontides, A. Tzora

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8 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the features of an outbreak of ovine abortions caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae in a flock of sheep in Greece. Abortion occurred in 3.5% of ewes in the flock; the foetuses were well developed and had congested lungs and sero-haemorrhagic fluid in the thoracic cavity; pinpoint, necrotic-like lesions were recorded on the placental cotyledons, whilst the inter-cotyledonary areas appeared normal. The same findings were also recorded in the foetus and the foetal membranes of a pregnant ewe that died and was necropsied; on the foetal membranes of that animal, bright yellow-coloured amniotic plaques were also seen. Lameness was recorded in 3% of the ewes in the flock; oedema of the periarticular tissues and sparse synovial fluid in the infected joints were evident in a ewe that died and was necropsied. Long-standing lameness was recorded in two fattening pigs, reared in the farm. E. rhusiopathiae was isolated in pure culture and heavy growth from joints of the pigs, joints, lungs, liver, foetuses and placentae of the ewe that died, aborted foetuses and placentae from the ewes that aborted, synovial fluid from the lame ewes. The identity of the organism was confirmed by means of conventional bacteriological techniques and the API-system. Specific tests for other common causes of ovine abortion were carried out, but no evidence of involvement of other agents was found. On the basis of all the evidence available, a diagnosis of erysipelas was made. Penicillin was given to all ewes in the flock and sanitation measures were applied to control the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalSmall Ruminant Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Abortion
  • Cross-infection
  • Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae
  • Pigs
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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