Hair sheep

Hair sheep are a hardy, low maintenance variety of sheep adapted for hot climates. Dr. Ellen Jo Baron and others have shown that hair sheep blood fulfills all requirements of blood agar for diagnostic microbiology tests. Sheep blood is an essential ingredient for media in diagnostic microbiology labs. Sheep blood agar supports the growth of many human pathogens and is useful for the differentiation of bacteria on the basis of colonial morphology and the hemolytic pattern created by the colonies. Diagnostic microbiology labs in many resource poor countries use human blood because sheep blood is not available. However, human blood often contains antibodies and antibiotics which inhibit the growth of human pathogens and working with human blood carries the risk of laboratory acquired infection from pathogens in the blood. You can hear Dr. Baron discussing hair sheep on this Microbe World webcast. DMDP now owns twenty sheep which are generously maintained for us by Resource Development International Cambodia in their facility about 15 Km south of Phnom Penh. We will import hair sheep to use as a source of blood for sheep blood agar. Hair sheep are especially adapted tropical weather, they are resistant to many parasitic infections and contrary to the name, do not have much wool so there is no need to shear the sheep regularly.

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