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Vet Parasitol. 1986 Mar;20(1-3):43-8.

Species-specific serodiagnosis of equine piroplasma infections by means of complement fixation test (CFT), immunofluorescence (IIF), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


The increasing horse trade requires a reliable immunodiagnosis of equine piroplasma infections due to import restrictions imposed by various countries, including the United States of America. It was the aim of our investigations to establish the suitability of serological tests for the detection of parasite carriers and, eventually, to differentiate between Babesia caballi and B. equi infections. The investigations were carried out on 11 ponies with experimentally-induced B. caballi and/or B. equi infection. The infections were confirmed by the demonstration of parasites in blood smears 2-13 days post infection (PI). The complement fixation test (CFT), the indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were employed for the demonstration of antibodies, and different antigen preparations were tested for their suitability. Antibodies could be demonstrated by all three tests. Complement-fixing antibodies disappear after 2-3 months PI in B. caballi-infected horses, while the IIF and ELISA gave positive results during latent infection. A reliable serodiagnosis thus requires the use of the CFT and IIF, since parasite carriers may appear seronegative by the CFT. Serological differentiation between B. caballi and B. equi was possible by CFT and, to a certain extent, by IIF during early infection, but not by ELISA. The successful treatment of B. caballi infections with Berenil could only be confirmed serologically by IIF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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