Serological survey of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina in cattle in South Africa

Serological survey of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina in cattle in South Africa

 

Terkawi, M.A., Thekisoe, O.M.M., Katsande, C., Latif, A.A., Mans, B.J., Matthee, O., Mkize, N., Mabogoane, N., Marais, F., Yokoyama, N., Xuan, X., Igarashi, I. Serological survey of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina in cattle in South Africa (2011) Veterinary Parasitology, 182 (2-4), pp. 337-342.

Why they did it

Bovine babesiosis is a tick-borne disease of cattle caused by the intra-erythocytic protozoa Babesia. Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina are the most economically important species worldwide resulting in disease characterised by anaemia, fever, haemoglobinuria, splenomegaly and death.  B. bovis is commonly associated with more severe disease as the infected erythrocytes become sequestered in the cerebral capillaries causing nervous symptoms and rapid death despite having a low circulating parasitemia in the circulating blood. B bigemina causes a milder disease however has a much higher parasitemia. Correct identification of the causative organism within a region allows for the most accurate managemental and vaccination protocol to be implemented.

What they did

A total of 719 serum samples were collected from 8 provinces throughout South Africa and analysed using indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the standard indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) to determine the prevalence of Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina. Samples were collected from rural dip tanks where the vaccination status was unknown but is thought to be very low in the communal herds.

What they found

From the samples collected the seroprevalence to Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina was found to be 35.3% and 30.0% respectively. Mixed infections were detected in 18.2% of samples by ELISA. Seroprevalence differed significantly by province with the highest infection rate of Babesia bovis noted in Mpumalanga province with 68% (ELISA) and the lowest in the North West province at 15% (ELISA). Babesia bigemina had the highest infection rate in KwaZulu-Natal with 45.5 % (ELISA) and the North West once again had the lowest infection rate at 13.2% (ELISA). See table for details.

 

 

Seroprevalence of B. bovis and B. bigemina infections in cattle from different provinces in South Africa.

Provinces Total B. bovis B. bigemina
ELISA IFAT ELISA IFAT
(+) (+) (+) (+)
Limpopo 100 19 (19%) 20 (20%) 30 (30%) 36 (36%)
Mpumalanga 100 68 (68%) 73 (73%) 42 (42%) 49 (49%)
Gauteng 100 19 (19%) 21 (21%) 14 (14%) 17 (17%)
KwaZulu-Natal 96 55 (57.3%) 61 (63.5%) 44 (45.8%) 52 (54.2%)
Eastern Cape 100 42 (42%) 50 (50%) 32 (32%) 41 (41%)
Free State 70 21 (30%) 25 (35.7%) 24 (34.3%) 33 (47.1%)
Northern Cape 100 22 (22%) 26 (26%) 23 (23%) 26 (26%)
North West 53 8 (15.1%) 10 (18.9%) 7 (13.2%) 9 (16.9%)
719 254 (35.3%) 286 (39.8%) 216 (30%) 263 (36.6%)

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