Infections with the bacterium Brucella ovis cause inflammation of the testicles and epididymis in rams. Humans cannot contract this bacterium.
Nearly worldwide in all sheep-rich regions
Mode of transmission
Transmission occurs via direct contact (droplet infection) from infected ram to ram or indirectly during mating via female sheep. After colonisation of the kidneys, excretion can also occur via the urine.
In rams, there are unilateral or, more rarely, bilateral epididymitis. In pregnant ewes, abortions and increased lamb mortality may occur.
Therapy and hygiene measures
A specific therapy is not possible. Infected rams should be excluded from breeding or the flock as soon as possible and the flock and contact animals should be clinically and serologically examined.
B. ovis is generally introduced into a flock via infected sheep or semen. Therefore, clinical examination (palpation of the scrotum) and serological screening (detection of antibodies) of potential breeding rams or rams of unknown health status prior to introduction into the flock are the most important preventive measures against the spread of the pathogen. Infections in ewes can be prevented by controlling B. ovis in rams.