Mycoplasma conjunctivae

Mycoplasma conjunctivae

Species: Ovine

Specimen: conjunctival or ocular swab or swab of ocular secretions

Container: Sterile container or vacutainer

Collection protocol: If possible take a swab of lacrimal secretions deep in the inner canthus of the eye, or swab of fluid from the conjunctiva and ocular surfaces of the eye. Send swab in sterile container e.g. red top vacutainer. Swabs can also be sent in microbiological transport media. Pooling up to 5 swabs in the same sample container is acceptable.

Special handling/shipping requirements: Samples are to be transported and stored chilled. Do not freeze samples.

General information about the disease:  Pink-eye (Infectious ovine keratoconjunctivitis; IOK) is characterised by a severe ocular discharge, conjunctivitis and a corneal opacity that can eventually lead to perforation of the cornea and permanent blindness. It can affect all ages of sheep and goats and the predisposing causes include exposure to dust, flies and close contact during yarding. In New Zealand Cooper (1967) found outbreaks occurred throughout the year but increased in autumn.

In NZ M. conjunctivae is considered the primary causative agent in sheep. Overseas research has shown that Moraxella ovis and Mycoplasma conjunctivae are the most commonly isolated organisms in IOK although both these organisms can also be isolated from apparently healthy eyes.

Comparison with other related tests: M. conjunctivae is difficult to culture so qPCR provides a rapid method of detection and specific identification.