Epidemiological modelling of chlamydial abortion in sheep flocks

Catherine E Milne, George J Gunn, Gary Entrican, David Longbottom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chlamydophila (C.) abortus, responsible for chlamydial abortion (commonly known as Enzootic Abortion of Ewes [EAE]), causes major financial losses to the sheep industry worldwide. There remain many uncertainties surrounding the epidemiology of EAE. The aim of this study was to construct an epidemiological model to simulate EAE based on current knowledge of the disease, and in doing so, identify knowledge gaps that need to be addressed through further research. Key parameters that impact upon the development of the disease, such as the rate of contact between naïve ewes and infected material, are defined. Sensitivity analysis was undertaken for parameter values that are unknown to explore their impact upon the pattern of disease. The simulated results show the importance of the transmission rate (i.e. contact) and the number of infected replacements introduced at the start of an outbreak. Depending upon the rate of transmission, the year in which the peak number of affected ewes occurs and the number of years over which a high number of animals are affected varies. This suggests that a better understanding of the underlying processes that drive transmission of C. abortus is needed. Furthermore, if infected ewes could be identified prior to parturition, when they shed the organism in large numbers, the impact of EAE on sheep flocks could be greatly reduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-33
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2009


  • Abortion, Veterinary
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Models, Biological
  • Pregnancy
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases
  • Time Factors

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