Risk factors associated with small ruminant lentivirus infection in eastern Poland sheep flocks

Prev Vet Med. 2016 May 1:127:44-9. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.03.011. Epub 2016 Mar 19.


An analysis of the risk factors for ovine lentivirus infection was performed in sheep flocks located throughout the central-eastern region of Poland. Here, we report the infection details for 98 flocks with a total of 6470 ewes, 15 sheep breeds. The identification of infected animals and a review of the epidemiological status of each flock were based on an evaluation of serological tests performed on collected blood serum samples. Blood for examination was obtained from 2925 ewes of the 98 flocks under observation. Specific antibodies for Maedi Visna Virus (MVV) were detected via ELISA. Data illustrating the conditions at each sheep farm were obtained through questionnaires completed by farmers, as well as observations, measurements, and breeding records that were available. These observations were used to assess risk factors contributing to small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) infection in sheep flocks. It was found that both sheep flock size and the type of management system had a significant effect on the increased risk of lentiviral infection. In addition, we demonstrate that there is a significant (p<0.0001) relationship between the occurrence of mastitis (OR 2.01, CI: 1.55-2.61) and diarrhea (OR 4.22, CI: 3.30-5.39) with SRLV infection in the observed sheep. Additionally, the infection rate of the animals translated directly to an impaired physical condition. Notably, the risk of infection could potentially be reduced if sheep producers are further acquainted with SRLV detection and invoke a control program based on diagnostic tests. Moreover, marketing approval should be granted for solely SRLV-seronegative animals.

Keywords: Flock management; Flock size; Lentiviruses; Risk factor; Sheep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Incidence
  • Lentivirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Lentivirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Lentivirus Infections / virology
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sheep Diseases / virology
  • Visna-maedi virus / physiology*