Dichelobacter nodosus, Fusobacterium necrophorum and the epidemiology of footrot

Anaerobe. 2009 Aug;15(4):173-6. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2009.02.002. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Footrot is a debilitating disease of sheep resulting in lameness, production losses and suffering. To study the basic bacteriology of the disease, a survey was initiated across commercial farms and non-commercial research flocks to compare the bacteriology of symptomatic footrot infected sheep with healthy asymptomatic sheep. Of the 80 farmers initially contacted, 14 collected hoof swabs and returned the swabs by post. Following DNA extraction, species-specific PCR was used to identify if Dichelobacter nodosus (D. nodosus) or Fusobacterium necrophorum (F. necrophorum) species were present on each swab. Of the 42 swabs taken from symptomatic footrot infected sheep, 17 were positive for both F. necrophorum and D. nodosus, two were positive for F. necrophorum only, two for D. nodosus only and 23 swabs were negative for both F. necrophorum and D. nod osus. Of the 50 swabs received from healthy asymptomatic sheep, one was positive for F. necrophorum only and 49 were negative for both D. nodosus and F. necrophorum. This suggests that both F. necrophorum and D. nodosus are linked to footrot in the field in a pastoral farming system. If these bacteria are linked together and collectively cause footrot, this may need to be considered when managing a footrot outbreak, or maintaining a quarantine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Dichelobacter nodosus / classification
  • Dichelobacter nodosus / genetics
  • Dichelobacter nodosus / isolation & purification*
  • Foot Rot / epidemiology*
  • Foot Rot / microbiology
  • Foot Rot / pathology
  • Fusobacterium Infections / epidemiology
  • Fusobacterium Infections / microbiology
  • Fusobacterium Infections / pathology
  • Fusobacterium Infections / veterinary*
  • Fusobacterium necrophorum / classification
  • Fusobacterium necrophorum / genetics
  • Fusobacterium necrophorum / isolation & purification*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / veterinary*
  • Hoof and Claw / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sheep Diseases / microbiology
  • Sheep Diseases / pathology
  • Species Specificity
  • Specimen Handling / veterinary


  • DNA, Bacterial