How to spot contagious epididymitis, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.
Contagious epididymitis affects sheep and goats.
It doesn’t affect humans.
The disease has never been present in Great Britain.
Contagious epididymitis is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect it you must tell the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.
How to spot contagious epididymitis
Infected male sheep (rams) may initially show:
- swelling of the skin on testicles
Later they may show:
- thickening and swelling of the epididymis – close to the testicles
Contagious epididymitis is also a cause of poor fertility.
How contagious epididymitis is spread
The disease is present in the semen of infected animals and spreads during mating.
Preventing and controlling contagious epididymitis
You can only trade rams with other EU member states if your flock has had no cases of contagious epididymitis for a year.
You must also test rams for contagious epididymitis before export.
You can also help prevent the disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.
If you report suspicion of contagious epididymitis APHA vets will investigate.
If contagious epidymitis is confirmed, the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.
Further information on prevention and control
Legislation relating to contagious epididymitis
Contagious epididymitis is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.
Contagious epididymitis is also covered by:
Published: 26 August 2014
Updated: 1 October 2014
- AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
- First published.