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grazing lambs

Abortion Storms and Lamb Loss!

EAE can cause abortion storms and lamb loss leading to huge economic loss. Unfortunately it is a difficult disease to control for the following reasons:

  • Infected ewes show no signs of ill health so you could be buying in disease without realising. Animals that have been infected in one lambing season can abort on your farm in the following spring. It won’t be until lambing time when it’s too late that your ewes will either abort 2 or 3 weeks before lambing is due to start or give birth to weak non-viable lambs.
  • Once EAE infection is established within a flock it is persistent and difficult to eradicate. Following an abortion, ewes will lamb normally in subsequent years. However, these ewes are disease carriers and may infect their own lambs and any other sheep that they are in contact with.  

Chlamydia abortus (the bacteria that causes EAE) is a zoonotic disease and can infect the human placenta resulting in abortion, stillbirth and serious maternal illness.

More about EAE

Why buy HISHA EAE Accredited replacements?

One of the main ways to introduce EAE infection is buying in infected replacements. For this reason HISHA members screen their flocks annually for EAE in order to supply the market with breeding animals sold with high health status. Animals are tested within three months after lambing and members follow strict rules on testing and biosecurity.  Purchasing these quality disease free stock reduces the risk of buying in disease.

Do You Already have EAE in your Flock?

If you already have EAE in your flock purchasing EAE Accredited replacements and vaccinating them prior to mixing with your resident flock has the advantage of imparting immunity to the disease in these bought in sheep. Vaccinating infected sheep is less effective and some sheep will still abort whilst others may still transmit infection.
If you wish to control the disease in your flock then by implementing a vaccination programme and buying in only EAE Accredited replacements is an effective solution.

Buying EAE accredited stock and vaccinating them makes financial sense as it has been estimated that each abortion will cost from around £95 per ewe.

Highlands and Islands Sheep Health Scheme

Address: St Boswells TD6 0EQ

Telephone: 01835 822456

Fax: 01835 823643


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