10 May 2002

Parasite at centre of abortion probe

A HIDDEN source of abortion in cows is to be investigated by new research at the Liverpool Vet School. Up to 6000 abortions a year may be caused by Neospora caninum, a parasite which lies dormant in the cows brain, claims the research team headed by Diana Williams. The parasite appears to be activated once pregnancy occurs.

Cows show no outward signs of the infection and not all infected cows abort, making detection of the condition difficult. The research team hope their work may eventually lead to a vaccine being developed. &#42