Summary (continued)
Brucella abortus biovar 6 was isolated from a pyometra of a seropositive ewe. It is important to note that B. abortus biovar 6 cannot be differentiated from Brucella melitensis biovar 2 by routine bacteriology. Only phage typing performed in reference laboratories will allow accurate identification of the strain. The fact that B. abortus biovar 6 does not require CO2 for growth, combined with the fact that it has been isolated from a small ruminant in this study, could easily have led to misidentification (as B. melitensis biovar 2), to wrong epidemiological inferences and to the implementation of inappropriate control measures. The results presented here suggest that sheep are spillover hosts, as previously described for camels, and that the actual reservoir of B. abortus biovar 6 is cattle in Kassala State, Eastern Sudan. This study highlights the importance of isolating and identifying Brucella spp. in different livestock species in order to accurately decipher brucellosis epidemiology in sub-Saharan Africa.