Submitted to: World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitologists
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The cattle fever ticks (CFT) Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus and R. annulatus are vectors of bovine babesiosis, a deadly protozoan parasite endemic in Mexico. These ticks, along with the parasites Babesia bovis and B. bigemina, were eradicated from the continental United States in 1943 with the exception of a permanent quarantine zone along the border between Texas and Mexico. The detection of CFT on cattle and deer outside of the permanent quarantine zone has led to the recent expansion of this zone with additional temporary quarantine areas. The spread of these ticks and their potential to vector Babesia underscore the need to develop accurate and rapid diagnostic tests for use not only in cattle but in CFT. The Reverse Line Blot (RLB) has advantages over other detection assays in that multiple Babesia species in a single DNA sample can be detected and identified simultaneously. A RLB based on nucleotide probes specific to the 18s ribosomal RNA sequences of several Babesia pathogens was developed and tested to determine the overall prevalence of Babesia in CFT eggs, larvae, and adult females. The data obtained from the RLB on the exposure of cattle and deer to Babesia is critical to evaluate the risk for babesiosis where CFT are found.