The sniffling sheep

Alkis Psaltis has seen more than his share of sheep with the sniffles. Over the past year or two, in the course of researching the role of bacterial biofilms in sinusitis, woolly ruminants with nasal congestion have become almost a daily event for the scientist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia. "Basically, the sheep get runny noses," Psaltis explains. "They get a purulent discharge and all the signs of an inflammatory response, including frank pus and friable muc

Stephen Pincock
Mar 31, 2007

Alkis Psaltis has seen more than his share of sheep with the sniffles. Over the past year or two, in the course of researching the role of bacterial biofilms in sinusitis, woolly ruminants with nasal congestion have become almost a daily event for the scientist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia. "Basically, the sheep get runny noses," Psaltis explains. "They get a purulent discharge and all the signs of an inflammatory response, including frank pus and friable mucosa."

Psaltis and his colleagues have developed a sheep model for sinusitis that they are using to investigate how biofilms are implicated in the development of chronic sinusitis. Their research could pave the way for better treatments.

In recent times, it has become increasingly clear that bacterial biofilms cause some of the more stubborn conditions that affect the ear, nose, and throat, including glue ear and chronic rhinosinusitis. Nestled deep within...