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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Animal Disease Research » Research » Research Project #442200

Research Project: Surveying Nilgai Antelope in South Texas for Evidence of Infection with Bovine Babesiosis

Location: Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 2090-32000-040-028-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2022
End Date: Feb 28, 2027

Non-native species of wild ungulates, especially nilgai antelope, serve as alternative vertebrate hosts for cattle fever tick vectors and have been found infested with R. microplus within the permanent quarantine zone and beyond. Given that nilgai and cattle often utilize similar habitat, it is imperative to understand the impacts of these exotic species, which are a new addition to the ecology and epidemiology of this disease system. There is currently limited information of the role that nilgai antelope may play in the bovine babesiosis disease transmission cycle. The objective of this research is to enhance surveillance of the nilgai antelope population in South Texas. We aim to survey the nilgai population for evidence of infection, past or present, with agents of bovine babesiosis (Babesia bovis and B. bigemina).

Blood samples from nilgai antelope in South Texas. Infection status will be confirmed by performing molecular and serological assays including PCR assays targeting 18s and rap1 genes and immunoblotting. We will also continue to challenge captive-raised nilgai to bovine babesiosis strains.