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Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 1997 Jun;64(2):141-5.

Prevalence of equine piroplasmosis in Central Mongolia.

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Research Centre for Protozoan Molecular Immunology, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido, Japan.


Antigen for the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) was routinely prepared from infected erythrocytes from horses experimentally infected with Babesia equi and Babesia caballi. With the successful establishment of in vitro cultures of B. equi and B. caballi, it is now possible to employ culture-derived antigens in this test. In this study, in vitro-propagated B. equi- and B. caballi-infected erythrocytes were used as antigen in the IFAT. Various modifications to an established protocol had to be implemented to allow repeatable results. Cultures with 3-4% parasitized erythrocytes were found to be most suitable. As cross-reactions of control sera on heterologous antigen were observed at serum dilutions of up to 1/40, a reciprocal titre of 80 was considered to be positive. In positive samples, specific fluorescence of Babesia parasites and/or erythrocyte membranes was observed. Fifteen sera from Babesia-free horses from Japan all tested negative in the IFAT. One hundred and ten field-horse sera from Central Mongolia were investigated in this study. The results indicate that both B. equi and B. caballi are endemic in horses in Central Mongolia, with 88.2% and 84.5% of horses being seropositive to B. equi and B. caballi, respectively.

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