Identification of Sarcocystis capracanis in cerebrospinal fluid from sheep with neurological disease

Protozoal merozoites were identified in the cerebrospinal fluid of two sheep with neurological disease in the UK. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) identified the merozoites as Sarcocystis capracanis, a common protozoal pathogen of goats. This is the first report of this species infecting sheep and may represent an aberrant infection with sheep acting as dead end hosts, or alternatively could indicate that sheep are able to act as intermediate hosts for S. capracanis, widening the previously reported host range of this pathogen. It is possible that S. capracanis is a previously unrecognised cause of ovine protozoal meningoencephalitis (OPM) in the UK.

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