Bovine piroplasms in Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain): A comparison of PCR-based and light microscopy detection

S. Almeria, J. Castellà, D. Ferrer, A. Estrada-Pea, J. F. Gutiérrez, Ana Maria Ortuño Romero

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119 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study provides the first epidemiological data regarding infection by Theileria and Babesia piroplasms in cattle in Minorca. More than 94% of the studied animals were positive for the presence of Theileria sp., and of those, 41.3% were positive for the presence of Theileria annulata. These results indicate that the prevalence of Mediterranean theileriosis caused by T. annulata is very high in Minorcan dairy farms and that other Theileria sp. are also present in the area. The prevalence of infection was similar throughout the study indicating an endemic situation in this island. The use of PCR resulted in significantly higher efficacy of detection of Theileria sp. compared to microscopical observation (MO) of blood smears and allowed the specific discrimination between pathogenic and non-pathogenic theilerias which cannot be accomplished by traditional diagnosis by MO. Babesia infection in the area was mainly due to Babesia bigemina (6.0% of the studied animals were infected), while one animal (0.75%) was found to be infected by Babesia bovis. It was observed that 31% of animals infected with B. bigemina had a concurrent infection of T. annulata. PCR also resulted in a significantly higher efficacy of detection of Babesia sp. compared to MO when infection levels were higher, towards the end of the study period. The results clearly demonstrate that parasitic infection by piroplasms, especially Theileria sp. is common and endemic in the island of Minorca and that PCR is the optimal approach for the detection and discrimination of these important parasites. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-259
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Volume99
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2001

Keywords

  • Babesia bigemina
  • Babesia bovis
  • Cattle
  • PCR
  • Piroplasms
  • Protozoa
  • Theileria annulata
  • Theileria sp.

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