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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Dec;1149:149-51. doi: 10.1196/annals.1428.036.

Water Buffalos as carriers of Babesia bovis in Argentina.

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Institute of Pathobiology, CICVyA, Castelar, Argentina.


The tick-transmitted hemoprotozoan Babesia bovis is a major causative agent of bovine babesiosis, an often fatal disease of cattle. The disease is widespread in the northeastern region of Argentina, where an increasing part of the livestock is composed of water buffalos. Although clinical cases of buffalo babesiosis have not been reported so far, the pathogen-transmitting tick vector has been occasionally observed by us to be feeding on water buffalos. We therefore set out to examine whether buffalos may constitute a reservoir of the parasite. Competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) detected B. bovis-specific antibodies in 20% of investigated buffalos (21/103), while direct detection of the pathogen by nested PCR was demonstrated in 34% of the animals (35/103). In one field, more than 60% of investigated animals (22/36) tested positive by nested PCR. These results are discussed in the context of buffalo babesiosis reported in other countries and in view of the currently effected control measures against bovine babesiosis in the region.

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