Open Access Research article

High sero-prevalence of caseous lymphadenitis identified in slaughterhouse samples as a consequence of deficiencies in sheep farm management in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Alessandro S Guimarães125, Filipe B Carmo25, Marcos B Heinemann25, Ricardo WD Portela4, Roberto Meyer4, Andrey P Lage25, Núbia Seyffert3, Anderson Miyoshi3, Vasco Azevedo35 and Aurora MG Gouveia25*

Author Affiliations

1 Nucleo de Saúde Animal e Microbiologia do Leite, Embrapa Gado de Leite, Rua Eugênio do Nascimento, 610, Juiz de Fora, Postal Code 36038-330, Minas Gerais, Brasil

2 Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva, Escola de Veterinária da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos 6627 Caixa Postal 567, Campus da UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Postal Code 30123-970, Minas Gerais, Brazil

3 Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Campus da UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Postal Code 30123-970, Minas Gerais, Brazil

4 Departamento de Bio-Interação, Instituto da Ciência da Saúde da Universidade Federal da Bahia. Avenida Reitor Miguel Calmon, 18 s/n, Vale do Canela, Salvador, Postal Code 40110-100, Bahia, Brazil

5 Grupo de Extensão da Pesquisa em Ovinos e Caprinos (GEPOC), Belo Horizonte - Brazil

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:68  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-68

Published: 8 November 2011



Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA), caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, is one of the most important diseases of sheep and goats, causing considerable economic losses for herd owners.


We assessed the seroprevalence of infection with C. pseudotuberculosis in 805 sheep from 23 sheep farms that supply slaughterhouses in the state of Minas Gerais; we also analyzed management practices that could be associated with CLA occurrence, used on these and nearby farms that also supplied animals to the slaughterhouse (n = 60). The serum samples for assaying CLA infection were taken at the slaughterhouse. Frequency of infection with C. pseudotuberculosis was estimated at 43.7%, and farm frequency was estimated at 100%. Management practices were analyzed through a questionnaire. All farmers (60/60) had extensive/semi-extensive rearing system; 70.0% (42/60) identified sheep individually; 11.7% (7/60) had periodical technical assistance; 41.7% (25/60) disinfected the facilities; 86.7% (52/60) used barbed wire fences and did not implement adequate CLA control measures; only 11.7% (7/60) of breeders reported vaccination against C. pseudotuberculosis; 13.3% (8/60) took note of animals with clinical signs of CLA; 1.7% (1/60) opened and sanitized abscesses, and isolated the infected animals; 10.0% (6/60) knew the zoonotic potential of this disease and 1.7% (1/60) of the farmers culled animals in case of recurrence of abscesses.


It can be concluded that C. pseudotuberculosis infection is widely spread in sheep flocks in Minas Gerais state in Brazil and that there is a lack of good management measures and vaccination, allowing transmission of this infectious agent throughout the production network.

Caseous lymphadenitis; Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis; sheep; slaughterhouse; Minas Gerais