A Toxic Lipid from the Surface of Corynebacterium ovis


WE have been studying the pathogenic properties of Corynebacterium ovis, a diphtheroid bacillus which causes the well-known and widespread disease of sheep known as caseous lymphadenitis. Natural infection takes the form of an initial suppurative inflammation of skin wounds. This is followed in about 20 per cent of cases by chronic metastatic abscesses in the regional lymph nodes. In most cases the infection in sheep does not progress any further; but occasionally C. ovis escapes from lymph node lesions to give rise to further abscess formation in lungs, spleen, liver and other visceral organs. The guinea pig is readily infected experimentally, but in contrast to the sheep is far less resistant to progressive extension of these pyogenic lesions and dies in eight to twelve weeks with abscesses in various internal organs.

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