Risk factors associated with small-ruminant lentiviruses in sheepfold buildings
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University of Life Sciences, Lublin, Poland
Department of Biochemistry, National Veterinary Research Institute, Pulawy, Poland
Department of Hygiene of Animal Feedingstuffs, National Veterinary Research Institute, Pulawy, Poland
Small-ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) infection is widespread across Europe. It causes substantial economic losses in sheep breeding. The main route of SRLV infection is through the mother’s milk, especially colostrum However, infection can also occur via contact between infected and healthy animals. It should be noted that the mechanisms of contact infection are still relatively poorly understood. The virus can also spread through a flock via an aerogenic mechanism.

Due to the increased risk of SRLV infection in sheep bred in an alcove system, this study sought to define the effect of various selected factors associated with alcove breeding on the frequency of SRLV infection in sheep.

Material and methods:
Risk factors associated with small-ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) infection were analyzed among flocks of sheep in central-eastern Poland. Ninety-eight sheep flocks were selected for detailed investigation and included 6,470 ewes and 15 breeds and lines. Serologic testing of blood samples was used to identify infected animals and evaluate the epidemiologic status of particular flocks. Specific antibodies for Maedi Visna Virus (MVV) were detected via ELISA. Questionnaires were used to gather information concerning risk factors.

The study’s results indicate that factors associated with environmental conditions under which sheep are kept play a significant role in determining the risk of SRLV infection.

Special attention should be focused on airborne contamination associated with the technologies used in sheep breeding. Breeding technologies that limit airborne contamination in farm buildings should be employed. In developing programmes to eliminate SLRV in sheep flocks, improvement of zoohygenic conditions should also be considered.

Bojar Wiktor   
University of Life Sciences in Lublin\n20-950 Lublin, Poland, ul Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
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