Ovine protozoan myeloencephalitis is a disease of sheep associated with the apicomplexan protozoan Sarcocystis tenella. This paper describes the clinical, pathological and epidemiological findings in three affected flocks from a well-defined geographical area. Clinical signs were restricted to sheep under one year old in their first winter and were first observed at least 42 days after they had been moved off the hill grazing areas to low ground pasture, or after they were given conserved forage. The findings are discussed in relation to the timescale of the life cycle of S. tenella and it is suggested that clinical disease was precipitated by the change from a low level of exposure to infection on the hill to a high level of exposure through contaminated pasture or forage. Possible preventive strategies are discussed.
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