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David Sparks Ph.d Mycoplasma in Big Horns
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: April 25, 2019

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There is an age-old dispute between domestic sheepherders and environmentalists about respiratory disease, as in pneumonia, being spread by domestic sheep to wild big horn sheep. A great deal of research on this topic has been conducted by Dr. Maggie Highland, Veterinary Medical Officer - Researcher with the USDA.


“We describe identifying mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in host species outside of the subfamily Caprinae. So to put that in a more basic lay term, originally this bacterium was believed to infect only sheep and goat species that would be sheep, goats and musk ox fall within that subfamily Caprinae research that began about five years ago screening ungulate animals and just any animal that I could get a nasal swab from because I was curious…Is it true that only sheep and goats can carry a mycoplasma? There's a mycoplasma textbook that I had read a statement in in trying to bring myself up to speed on mycoplasma in the statement was pretty much the guiding force for looking in other species actually I've started looking at other species and then I found this quote and that is the concept that mycoplasma species of bacterium are very host specific is probably due to the fact that we find a mycoplasma species at a higher prevalence in one or two species of mammals and then we think well that's the only species that carries that organism. We make that assumption without ever looking at other species of animals and that is exactly what drove me to look at other animals.” And she found the pathogen in deer and moose among other animals.

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