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The objective of this report is to describe an outbreak of pustular dermatitis in a flock of about 200 sheep, its clinical evolution and food safety implications. The onset of the symptoms was sudden and the lesions spread very quickly from ewe to ewe, so that in about 3 days almost all of the lactating sheep were stricken. Pustules from 5 different animals, six milk samples, two cheese samples, teat cup samples from the milking machine and farmer’s hands were analysed. A pure culture of Staphylococcus aureus, producing staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE) C, was isolated from pustules. Milk and cheese showed a contamination by coagulase positive staphylococci <15 and 30 colony forming units respectively and the absence of SE. Farmer’s hands and teat cups samples resulted negative for coagulase positive staphylococci. Therapy with daily topical medicaments was prescribed and a prophylactic intervention was suggested by the administration of an autovaccine. The low level of milk and cheese contamination and the absence of SE in cheese supported the decision to not advise the farmer to recall cheese produced with milk from affected animals.
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