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Vet Parasitol. 1996 Jun;63(3-4):319-29.

Nested polymerase chain reaction for detection of Ehrlichia equi genomic DNA in horses and ticks (Ixodes pacificus).

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Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


A nested polymerase chain reaction for detecting Ehrlichia equi in horses and ticks (Ixodes pacificus) was developed. A major second-round PCR product of 928 bp could be readily visualized in ethidium bromide-stained agarose minigels. An internal probe was used to verify the identity of the amplified product by non-radioactive (digoxigenin-based) Southern blotting; additional confirmation was provided by DNA sequence analysis. A dilution study testing the sensitivity of the PCR indicated that DNA derived from < = 7.6 but > 3 infected neutrophils was sufficient to generate a PCR signal. The specificity of the PCR was examined using a panel of rickettsiae, of which only E. equi and the closely-related human granulocytotropic ehrlichia produced PCR bands. In an in vivo infection study, E. equi DNA was detected in blood buffy-coat cells of an experimentally-infected horse on days three through 14 post-inoculation. In a separate study, three of six adult I. pacificus that as nymphs had been fed on an experimentally infected horse were found to be PCR-positive for E. equi.

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