Babesias of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Ireland

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland. .
Veterinary Research (Impact Factor: 2.82). 01/2011; 42(1):7. DOI: 10.1186/1297-9716-42-7
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ABSTRACT: Blood samples were obtained from 38 wild red deer (Cervus elaphus) at two sites in Ireland and subjected to PCR analysis of the 18S rRNA gene followed by sequencing. Two fragments of the 18S rRNA gene were generated by two different PCR protocols and subsequent sequencing suggested that at least six of the deer were infected by a babesia that, in those loci, is indistinguishable from Babesia divergens, an important tick-borne pathogen of cattle and of zoonotic significance. Additionally, a B. odocoilei-like parasite was detected in three samples and a babesia that did not match any sequences in the GenBank database was found in five samples. Neither B. capreoli nor B. venatorum (EU1) were found. There have been several reports of B. divergens occurring in deer species, including red deer, roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). However, in view of recent re-sequencing of bovine-origin samples deposited previously in GenBank, it is unlikely that any of these sequences from deer are B. divergens. The present study describes the only deer piroplasm detected so far that shows complete identity with B. divergens, in just over half of the 18S rRNA gene. The entire gene of this deer parasite should be analysed and transmission experiments undertaken before the infectivity of B. divergens for red deer can be confirmed.

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Article: Babesias of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Ireland

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    • "However, while parasites that are closely related, if not identical, to B. divergens have been found in red deer (Cervus elaphus), this deer species has a restricted distribution in Ireland. The commonest deer species, fallow deer (Dama dama) is not thought to be a competent reservoir for B. divergens[23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background In Ireland bovine babesiosis is caused by the tick-borne blood parasite, Babesia divergens. A survey of veterinary practitioners and farmers in the 1980’s revealed an annual incidence of 1.7% associated with considerable economic losses. However, two subsequent surveys in the 1990’s indicated a decline in clinical babesiosis. Recent evidence from continental Europe suggests that, probably due to climate change, the distribution of the tick vector of B. divergens, Ixodes ricinus is extending to more northerly regions and higher altitudes. In addition, milder winters are thought to widen the window of tick activity. In order to determine whether any such changes have affected the incidence of bovine babesiosis in Ireland, a questionnaire survey of farmers and veterinarians was carried out and compared with data from previous surveys. Results Our survey indicates that while the incidence of clinical disease has continued to decline, cases can occur at any time of year. In contrast to previous surveys, affected farms were the same size as unaffected ones. There was no correlation between disease risk and the presence of deer on the land. Disease severity and mortality rates were increased because many infections were advanced by the time they were detected and treated. Conclusion While the precise reasons for the decline in the incidence of redwater are unknown, changes in agricultural practice are likely to be of importance. A reversal of the trend could be devastating, as vigilance among farmers and veterinarians is flagging and the national herd is losing its protective immunity to disease.
    Irish Veterinary Journal 10/2014; 67(19). DOI:10.1186/2046-0481-67-19 · 1.18 Impact Factor
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    • "Differences between the 18S rRNA gene of B. divergens and B. capreoli have been described at only three positions namely 631, 663 and 1637, with AAC for B. divergens and GTT for B. capreoli [11]; further, differences in the sequences of the internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2 (ITS1, ITS2) have been reported [27]. Relying on nucleotide identities at positions 631 and 663 of the 18S rRNA gene, the only confirmed infections with B. divergens in free-ranging wild ruminants so far were in red deer from Ireland [28] and more recently in two roe deer from Poland [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Babesia are tick-borne parasites that are increasingly considered as a threat to animal and public health. We aimed to assess the role of European free-ranging wild ruminants as maintenance mammalian hosts for Babesia species and to determine risk factors for infection. EDTA blood was collected from 222 roe deer (Capreolus c. capreolus), 231 red deer (Cervus e. elaphus), 267 Alpine chamois (Rupicapra r. rupicapra) and 264 Alpine ibex (Capra i. ibex) from all over Switzerland and analysed by PCR with pan-Babesia primers targeting the 18S rRNA gene, primers specific for B. capreoli and Babesia sp. EU1, and by sequencing. Babesia species, including B. divergens, B. capreoli, Babesia sp. EU1, Babesia sp. CH1 and B. motasi, were detected in 10.7% of all samples. Five individuals were co-infected with two Babesia species. Infection with specific Babesia varied widely between host species. Cervidae were significantly more infected with Babesia spp. than Caprinae. Babesia capreoli and Babesia sp. EU1 were mostly found in roe deer (prevalences 17.1% and 7.7%, respectively) and B. divergens in red deer. Factors significantly associated with infection were low altitude and young age. Identification of Babesia sp. CH1 in red deer, co-infection with multiple Babesia species and infection of wild Caprinae with B. motasi and Babesia sp. EU1 are novel findings. We propose wild Caprinae as spillover or accidental hosts for Babesia species but wild Cervidae as mammalian reservoir hosts for B. capreoli, possibly Babesia sp. EU1 and Babesia sp. CH1, whereas their role regarding B. divergens is more elusive.
    Veterinary Research 06/2014; 45(1):65. DOI:10.1186/1297-9716-45-65 · 2.82 Impact Factor
    • "In the present study, we carried out isolation of Babesia sp. by in vitro culture from blood sampled from farmed red deer in central (Ciudad Real, Castilla La Mancha) and southern Spain (Cádiz, Andalucia). Red deer in Europe have been shown to carry parasites belonging to the species B. capreoli [27–29] and B. divergens [12], in Scotland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ireland and France, respectively. Babesia sp. "
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    ABSTRACT: The diversity of Babesia species infecting cervids in parts of central and southern Spain was analyzed by collecting blood from farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus). Babesia sp. was isolated in vitro from two red deer herds in Cádiz and Ciudad Real. The number of Babesia sp. carriers differed between the two herds: 36/77 in Cádiz and 1/35 in Ciudad Real. Hyalomma lusitanicum was the most prevalent tick species identified on the Cádiz farm vegetation and on sampled animals, and is therefore a candidate vector. The molecular characteristics of 21 isolates were determined by complete (8 isolates) or partial (13 isolates) 18S rRNA gene sequencing. The sequences were highly similar (over 99.4% identity) and 6 sequence types were identified at the level of one herd only, demonstrating a rather high genetic diversity. They formed a monophyletic clade, and members of the three main sequence types shared a similar morphology and the same erythrocyte susceptibility pattern. This clade also included Babesia sp. Xinjiang isolated from sheep in China and Babesia sp. identified in giraffe in South Africa, with identities higher than 98.3% and statistically relevant phylogenetic support. None of the biological properties analyzed for both Babesia from red deer and Babesia sp. Xinjiang allowed their differentiation (ability to develop in vitro in erythrocytes from cattle and sheep, as well as in erythrocytes from different cervids, unsuccessful infection of calves). We propose the Babesia isolated from red deer as a new species named B. pecorum. Whether Babesia sp. Xinjiang and the Babesia characterized in South Africa belong to the same species is debated. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13567-014-0078-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Veterinary Research 06/2014; in press(1). DOI:10.1186/s13567-014-0078-7 · 2.82 Impact Factor
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