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The presence of antibodies against Maedi-Visna (MV) and caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) was evaluated in ovine and caprine fetuses obtained from pregnant females slaughtered in abattoirs. Sera from 54 caprine fetuses and 65 ovine fetuses were collected and evaluated by the indirect ELISA technique. Antibodies were detected in five caprine fetuses of 80 days of gestation and in four ovine fetuses of 90 to 100 days of gestation; three caprine fetuses and two ovine fetuses of 60 to 65 days of gestation were suspicious. The possibility of uterine infection with these retroviruses is confirmed, and its consequences in current disease control and eradication strategies are discussed.
Keywords: Retrovirus, Sheep, Goat, Small Ruminants, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, Maedi-Visna, Fetal Immunity, Transplacental Infection, Uterine Infection