New Tests to Diagnose Chlamydia in LivestockBy
New tests to diagnose Chlamydia in livestock--and accurately
identify all known strains of the bacterium--have been developed by
scientists with the Agricultural
Research Service in Ames, Iowa.
More than 60 chlamydial strains infect birds and mammals, including
humans. In humans, Chlamydia causes sexually transmitted
diseases, respiratory disease and eye infection leading to blindness.
Recently, it has been associated with coronary atherosclerosis. In
animals, Chlamydia causes respiratory disease, conjunctivitis,
arthritis, enteritis and reproductive failure. In birds, chlamydial
infection results in lethargy and sometimes death.
Until now, researchers studying these bacteria had to grow them in
cell culture or in fertilized chicken eggs to confirm their presence.
The new tests use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to target DNA
genetic material found in all chlamydial strains.
The new tests will help veterinarians diagnose and improve treatment
for sick birds and animals. Most important, they will shed light on
how people and animals become infected. The lone DNA-based test now
available detects only some chlamydial strains that infect humans.
The new Chlamydia tests take about four hours, compared to
two to four days to isolate the organism in tissue culture. ARS has
applied for a patent on the new tests.
An article about the Chlamydia tests and research appears in
the June issue of Agricultural Research magazine. The article
is also on the World Wide Web at:
Scientific contact: Arthur A. Andersen, ARS
Swine Respiratory Diseases Research Unit,
Disease Center, Ames, IA 50010, phone (515) 239-8338, fax (515)