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Vet Parasitol. 1998 Jan 31;74(2-4):277-88.

Experimental transmission of Ehrlichia canis (Rickettsiales: Ehrlichieae) by Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae).

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Physiology, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.


Four trials were conducted in which laboratory-reared Dermacentor variabilis nymphs were exposed to Ehrlichia canis by feeding on experimentally infected dogs as soon as classical morulae were detected in peripheral blood monocytes. After molting 25, 50 or 90 adult tick pairs were permitted to feed on 7 Ehrlichia-naive dogs. Transmission occurred in trials 1 (1/1 dog), 3 (1/1 dog) and 4 (2/2 dogs) but not in trial 2 (0/3 dogs), with 4 of 7 dogs becoming infected. Successful transstadial transmission was demonstrated by detection of morulae in peripheral blood lymphocytes and by seroconversion to Ehrlichia canis 30 d post-exposure. Incubation periods ranged between 17 and 22 days (mean = 19). Clinical signs, typical of ehrlichiosis, included mucopurulent ocular discharge, lymphadenopathy and malaise with accompanying pyrexia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. Pyrexia, thrombocytopenia and erythrophagocytosis and vacuolization of the cytoplasm of monocytic cells were observed 1-4 d prior to detection of morulae. This is the first demonstration that a tick other than Rhipicephalus sanguineus is capable of transstadial transmission of this important pathogen of dogs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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