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Epizootic bovine abortion (EBA), also commonly known as "foothill abortion," is a late-term abortion primarily in beef cattle with significant economic impacts in California, Nevada, and Oregon. The causative agent is a novel deltaproteobacterium (aoEBA) closely related to the order Myxococcales and vectored by the soft-shelled tick Ornithodoros coriaceus. Historically, diagnosis has relied upon the pathologic examination of the fetus and the presence of elevated fetal serum immunoglobulins. Identification of the etiologic agent, a unique deltaproteobacterium, permitted the development of a quantitative duplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using a unique 90-bp sequence of aoEBA 16S ribosomal RNA gene in conjunction with an 88-bp sequence of the bovine β-actin gene. Reaction efficiencies were 100.9% for the 16S aoEBA gene and 93.1% for the bovine β-actin gene. Application of the duplex TaqMan to a set of aoEBA-infected fetal bovine necropsy tissues demonstrated the assay to be robust in quantitatively identifying the aoEBA bacteria and establishing host-tissue pathogen load. Consistent with previously reported immunohistochemical data, organized lymphoid tissue generally carried the heaviest bacterial load as compared to non-lymphoid tissue. The newly developed duplex TaqMan assay will facilitate diagnosis in difficult cases and provide an invaluable tool for delineating the pathogenesis of EBA.


Roxann S Brooks, Myra T Blanchard, Mark L Anderson, Mark R Hall, Jeffery L Stott. Quantitative duplex TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction for the assessment of the etiologic agent of epizootic bovine abortion. Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc. 2011 Nov;23(6):1153-9

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PMID: 22362796

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