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Volume 25, Number 5—May 2019

Novel Picornavirus in Lambs with Severe Encephalomyelitis

Leonie F. Forth, Sandra F.E. Scholes, Patricia A. Pesavento, Kenneth Jackson, Adrienne Mackintosh, Amanda Carson, Fiona Howie, Kore Schlottau, Kerstin Wernike, Anne Pohlmann, Dirk Höper, and Martin BeerComments to Author 
Author affiliations: Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany (L.F. Forth, K. Schlottau, K. Wernike, A. Pohlmann, D. Höper, M. Beer); SRUC Veterinary Services, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (S.F.E. Scholes, F. Howie); University of California–Davis, Davis, California, USA (P.A. Pesavento, K. Jackson); APHA Veterinary Investigation Centre, Carmarthen, Wales, UK (A. Mackintosh); APHA Veterinary Investigation Centre, Penrith, UK (A. Carson)

Main Article

Table 1

Investigations of neurologic signs in lambs in 2016 and 2017 in Scotland and Wales *

Year Flock Case information Case no. EM Tested tissue Cq OvPV reads, no. (%)†
Progressive neurologic signs including tetraparesis, recumbency, ataxia, and death were observed in several lambs beginning at 2–3 weeks of age in a flock of 200 ewes that was accredited free of maedi-visna virus. The lamb submitted for investigation (S012722-2) was being artificially reared. Additional lambs showed similar clinical signs, but they recovered apart from residual slight paresis in one limb.
S012722–1 Cerebrum NA 0
1 (0.00005)
Neurologic signs resulting from spinal cord 
compression by a vertebral abscess.

Cerebrum NA NP
Spinal cord
2017 II Approximately one third of a group of 60 young pet 
lambs (mainly orphan lambs or triplet lambs because of insufficient milk to rear 3 lambs) being artificially reared 
were affected in a flock of 650 ewes. Clinical signs 
reported were stiff back legs, tremors that became exaggerated on handling, progressing to lateral 
recumbency, terminal seizures, and death or euthanasia. 
One lamb with mild clinical signs recovered. S014175
Cerebrum 28.1 NP
Spinal cord 18.2 1,383 (0.06)
S014176 + Cerebrum 26.1 NP
Spinal cord 27.6 NP
S014177 + Cerebrum 27.9 NP
Spinal cord 19.7 590 (0.02)

*Testing by quantitative reverse transcription PCR for ovine picornavirus and by metagenomics. Cq, PCR cycle quantification; EM, encephalomyelitis; NA, not applicable (Cq value in RT-qPCR >45); NP, not performed; OvPV, ovine picornavirus; +, confirmed nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis and ganglionitis; –, no evidence of nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis and ganglionitis; instead, compressive lesions in the spinal cord.
† Number of OvPV reads in the metagenomics dataset, total (proportion).

Main Article

Page created: April 18, 2019
Page updated: April 18, 2019
Page reviewed: April 18, 2019
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