Equine Abortions in Australia Linked To Bird-Borne Pathogen

A cluster of equine abortions in New South Wales have been linked to a pathogen carried by birds. The bacterium, called Chlamydia psittaci, is also able to infect humans and other mammals. Parrots carry the strain that caused the abortions in Australia.

In 2016, regional equine reproductive loss was reported in New South Wales; researchers decided to test for C. psittaci. Using a genetic-based screening, they tested tissue samples from 161 equine abortions and 38 foals with compromised health.

It was determined that 21.1 percent of the fetal placental tissues tested positive for C. psittaci, and 23.7 percent of samples from the ill foals were positive. The cases were geographically clustered and the strain belonged to 6BC, which is associated with native Australian parrots.

The results from the research, which were published in Emerging Microbes & Infections, suggest that C. psittaci may contribute to more equine reproductive loss than previously thought, though additional research is needed to determine the reservoirs of the bacteria and what environmental factors may influence the clusters of C. psittaci cases.

Read more at HorseTalk.

Read the study here.

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