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J Vet Med Sci. 2006 Jul;68(7):643-6.

Babesia microti-like parasites detected in Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris orientis) in Hokkaido, Japan.

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School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, Japan.


Six Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris orientis), victims of road traffic found during 2002 and 2004 near the Noppro Forest Park in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, Japan, were examined for the presence of Babesia parasites. Three of the six squirrels exhibited positive signals by nested PCRs targeting both the 18S rRNA and beta-tubulin genes. Three squirrels proved to be infected with a B. microti-like parasite as evidenced by sequencing the amplified DNAs and by the morphology of the intraerythrocytic parasites. Genotypically, however, the parasite appeared to be of a new type, as it was clearly distinguishable from any of the known types that have previously been reported in various wild animals. This is the first report showing molecular evidence for the presence of B. microti-like parasites in Sciuridae.

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