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Vet Parasitol. 1986 Mar;20(1-3):49-61.

Serodiagnosis of experimental and natural Babesia equi and B. caballi infections.

Erratum in

  • Vet Parasitol 1986 Jun;21(2):139.


The sensitivity and specificity of the complement fixation (CF) test for the diagnosis of Babesia infections in equines was assessed, using the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test as a reference. Antibodies were first detected between 11 and 20 days post infection (dpi) in the CF test and between 7 and 14 dpi in the IFA test in ponies infected experimentally with B. equi (USDA strain). The CF test became negative in four of five ponies 63-174 dpi although B. equi was demonstrated microscopically in two of these four ponies up to 364 and 455 dpi. The IFA test remained positive up to 476 dpi (end of the examination period). Ponies infected experimentally with B. caballi (USDA strain) showed positive reactions in the CF test at first between 13 and 15 dpi and in the IFA test 10 or 11 dpi. The CF test became negative in two of three ponies 80 and 140 dpi, whereas the IFA test remained positive up to 190 dpi (end of the examination period). Cross-reactions of sera with heterologous antigens occurred at dilutions of 1/5 in the CF test and up to 1/20 in the IFA test. A total of 3944 CF tests was performed on 3765 horses from various European countries during 1980-1984. Sera that gave positive or trace CF reactions were retested in the IFA test. All 123 CF-positive sera were also IFA-positive and 26 of 31 sera (B. equi) and 11 of 32 sera (B. caballi) showing CF trace reactions were positive in the IFA test. Sera of two CF-negative horses were positive in the IFA test (B. equi); one of these horses was also positive upon microscopic examination. In seven of 21 horses repeatedly examined over longer periods the IFA titers (B. equi) persisted for up to 454 days longer than the CF titers. Sera of horses from highly endemic areas gave the following reactions: Sudan, 62 of 91 sera CF- and 86 of 91 IFA-positive; Zaire, 58 of 75 sera CF- and 72 of 75 IFA-positive; Columbia, 51 of 56 sera CF- and 56 of 56 IFA-positive; Brazil, 17 of 25 sera CF- and 21 of 25 IFA-positive. Only B. equi infections were demonstrated in Zaire. The combined use of the CF and IFA tests is recommended for safe identification of equine Babesia infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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