During the past several years, an ovine coughing syndrome characterized by paroxysmal cough leading to rectal prolapses has been observed in Iowa and neighboring states. Preliminary studies conducted by Kaeberle and Eness (1) several years ago indicated the presence of relatively high levels of M. ovipneumoniae (MO) antibody in lambs from affected flocks. In the present study, serum samples obtained from six flocks around the state of Iowa, at various stages of the clinical disease, were compared by ELISA for antibody to MO and M. arginini (MA). Results indicated low antibody levels to MO in flocks sampled at the early stages of infection whereas increased levels of antibody were evident in lambs from flocks that had apparently recovered from the disease. On the other hand, antibody levels to MA were more likely to increase earlier in the disease process. Our results suggest that the chronic nature of this disease may result from the failure of the immune system to produce antibodies that are protective against MO infection. At such a time that appreciable levels of specific antibodies appear in the serum (several weeks following infection) lambs seem to recover from the clinical disease. In addition, this lack of circulating antibody levels against MO would not be inconsistent with a predominant IgE response during early stages of the clinical disease as we have suggested in another entry in this issue of Sheep Research Reports.
Iowa State University
Niang, Mamadou; Kaeberle, Merlin L.; and Lopez-Virella, Jose, "Immune Response in Lambs Naturally Infected With Mycoplasma Species" (1998). Sheep Research Report, 1997. 5.