Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in sheep was established. The assay was used in a seroepidemiological survey in which serum samples from 327 Norwegian rams were screened for antibodies to B. burgdorferi. These rams were randomly chosen, clinically healthy animals from all parts of Norway. They came both from areas where Ixodes ricinus is common and from areas where the tick has not been found. The age of the animals varied from 0.5 to 7.5 years. Sera from 10% of the animals tested were seropositive by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, with the percentage of positive animals varying from 0 to 20% between counties. The distribution of seropositive animals was generally in good agreement with the known distribution of I. ricinus, with the highest proportion of seropositive animals being in southern coastal areas of Norway. There were some exceptions, however, because seropositive animals were also found in areas where the tick has not been recorded. The majority of animals appeared to become infected during the first 2 years of life, with 12% of animals that were 1.5 years old being seropositive. The animals were all healthy at the time of serum sampling, and the clinical significance of B. burgdorferi in sheep is still uncertain.