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New EAE Awareness Campaign For Farmers

1 year ago

10th July, 2019 14h00


Enzootic Abortion of Ewes (EAE) remains a significant burden to the UK sheep flock and is a highly infectious cause of abortion in sheep.  EAE was responsible for over 35% of all abortion diagnoses between 2012-18 and 47% of all 2019 laboratory submissions.

A new online campaign #everylambcounts #planprotectprevent #EAE #responsibleuse #vaccineswork has been launched to encourage farmers to vaccinate before tupping to prevent unnecessary lamb losses and the inappropriate use of antibiotics –  

Ceva Animal Health, supplier of the Cevac Chlamydia vaccine, is supporting the initiative by raising awareness of the EAE campaign amongst veterinary practices and farmers.  A new infographic and educational webinar are now available covering EAE in sheep.  These educational and informative materials, and their dispersal on social media, will increase farmer awareness and provide best practice guidance. 

The three areas featured in the infographic and in the webinar are Plan, Prevent and Protect and vaccination is considered best practice for control of the disease rather than the blanket use of antibiotics that may have been used. Vaccination will give better disease control whilst ensuring responsible use of antibiotics.  RUMA has identified the use of antibiotics in late lambing as a hot spot for routine use.  Antibiotics should only be used when recommended by a vet in charge of the case in the face of an outbreak and in the subsequent year, as well as vaccination.  It is important to be aware that latent infection occurs if sheep are infected after 100 days of pregnancy, meaning these ewes will not abort in this season but will in the following season. 

Independent sheep veterinary consultant Dr Fiona Lovatt, who leads the cross-industry Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group, says: “Despite EAE being responsible for over 35% of all abortion diagnoses, only one million of the 3.5 million replacement ewes in the national flock each year are vaccinated against EAE.  Any sheep farmer that either buys in ewes for replacements or has close neighbours that also lamb sheep, risks bringing enzootic abortion into their flock.

“Once the disease infects an unvaccinated flock, some ewes are ‘programmed’ to abort at their next lambing, leaving no choice but to put remedial measures in place – usually including both vaccination and antibiotic treatment.”

This means EAE is a disease that, once in a flock, carries high costs both financially and emotionally in terms of lamb losses and farmer stress. “Hence it is important that flocks receive appropriate vaccination at least four weeks before ewes go to the ram and avoid the inappropriate use of antibiotics closer to lambing,” says Dr Lovatt. 

Dr Lovatt points out that a single dose of EAE vaccine costs about £2.40 and is an investment that effectively lasts the ewe for her lifetime in the flock, protecting against losses. In contrast, abortion or stillbirth – which accounts for around a quarter of all lamb losses each year – costs over £25 for every single lost lamb. 

“Every injection of antibiotics also costs an additional £1,” says Dr Lovatt, “But is just a ‘sticking plaster’ with short-lasting effectiveness in terms of disease control but long-lasting damage in terms of mounting resistance.”

Ceva will continue to work closely with veterinary practices to secure stock of Cevac Chlamydia vaccine to ensure farmers can purchase and utilise this live vaccine at the correct time. Ceva also provides subsidised blood sampling for diagnostic purposes. 

For further information please call Ceva Animal Health on 01494 781510 or email

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