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Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 1988 Mar;55(1):33-5.

Isolation of pure Babesia equi and Babesia caballi organisms in splenectomized horses from endemic areas in South Africa.

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Section of Protozoology, Veterinary Research Institute, Onderstepoort.


Both Babesia equi and Babesia caballi are endemic in large parts of South Africa. Attempts were made to obtain pure local isolates of both B. equi and B. caballi for the purpose of developing serological tests to study the epidemiology of equine babesiosis in this country. The indirect fluorescent antibody test was used to screen horses for B. equi and B. caballi in an endemic area. Seven horses and 3 donkeys between 3 and 36 months of age that tested negative were subsequently splenectomized. The splenectomy operation was performed through the abdominal approach. A 100% survival rate was achieved through this method, probably because it reduced the risk involved in the operation. Blood collected from naturally infected horses and passaged in fully susceptible splenectomized horses and a donkey, under laboratory conditions, produced 2 isolates of Babesia caballi and 1 of B. equi. Microscopical and serological examinations confirmed that these were pure isolates.

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