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Vet Parasitol. 2001 Dec 13;102(3):185-91.

Molecular evidence of Babesia caballi (Nuttall and Strickland, 1910) parasite transmission from experimentally-infected SCID mice to the ixodid tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis (Neuman, 1901).

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  • 1National Program of Animal Health, Colombian Corporation of Livestock Research, Corpoica, A.A. 240142, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia.


Molecular evidence that suggests the possible role of the ixodid tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis and its eggs in the transmission of equine Babesia caballi parasites is presented herein. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to assay for DNA in parasites, presumably acquired by ticks that were allowed to feed on splenectomized-SCID mice, experimentally exposed to in vitro-cultivated B. caballi, we have obtained positive bands that corresponded to the expected B. caballi-specific 430bp gene fragment in 50% of female ticks used, and in 75 and 25% of eggs and larval progeny, respectively. Also, parasite DNA was detected in ticks, eggs and larvae as late as the 16th to the 20th day post-host infestation. Present findings support to the potential role of H. longicornis in the transmission of B. caballi parasites. Its capability, however, to successfully transmit the infection to horses under natural conditions in the field needs to be further ascertained. To our knowledge, this is the first documented study incriminating H. longicornis as a most and likely biological vector of equine babesias.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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