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Res Vet Sci. 2009 Apr;86(2):257-60. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

Canine babesiosis caused by Babesia canis vogeli in rural areas of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil and factors associated with its seroprevalence.

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  • 1Departamento de Parasitologia, ICB - UFMG, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Abstract

This epidemiological survey on canine babesiosis was carried out in three distinct rural regions (Lavras, Belo Horizonte and Nanuque) of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Ticks and blood samples were collected during a dry season (Lavras, n=92; Belo Horizonte, n=50; Nanuque, n=102) and the subsequent rainy season (Lavras, n=71; Belo Horizonte, n=28; Nanuque, n=66) from dogs living on farms. Plasma samples were analyzed by the indirect fluorescent antibody test for detection of anti-Babesia canis vogeli antibodies. DNA was extracted from blood of serologically positive dogs and molecular characterization of Babesia species was performed. Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Amblyomma cajennense and Boophilus microplus were the tick species identified in all regions. In Lavras, in addition to those tick species, A. tigrinum and A. ovale were also identified. The most prevalent tick species was A. cajennense (35.3%), followed by R. sanguineus (19%) and B. microplus (4.0%). Dogs living in Nanuque region were more heavily infested with ticks than dogs living in Belo Horizonte and Lavras regions. The overall frequency of anti-B. c. vogeli antibodies in the canine population in rural areas of Minas Gerais was 28.7%, with prevalence rates of 49.0% in Nanuque, 34.0% in Belo Horizonte and 3.3% in Lavras. The age of the animals and tick infestation were associated with seroprevalence of B. c. vogeli. The sequence analysis showed that B. c. vogeli was the only Babesia species present in all three regions. This study showed different rates of prevalence and incidence of canine babesiosis among the three rural regions sampled in Minas Gerais State. The results point to the importance of canine babesiosis in rural areas and to the need for further studies related to its transmission and maintenance in nature.

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