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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #295361

Title: Congenital transmission of Neospora caninum in white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

item Dubey, Jitender
item Kwok, Oliver
item FERREIRA, LEANDRA - Non ARS Employee
item CHOUDHARY, SHANTI - Non ARS Employee
item BUTLER, ERIKA - Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources
item CARSTENSEN, MICHELLE - Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources
item VILLENA, ISABELLE - Hopital Maison Blanche
item Jenkins, Mark

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2013
Publication Date: 3/14/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Jenkins, M.C., Kwok, O.C.H., Ferreira, L.R., Choudhary, S., Verma, S.K., Villena, I., Butler, E., Carstensen, M., 2013. Congenital transmission of Neospora caninum in white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Vet Parasitol. 196:519-522.

Interpretive Summary: Neosporosis is parasitic infection that causes abortion storms in cattle, and therefore can be a serious threat to veterinary health and the productivity of beef and dairy cattle. Dogs excrete the form of the parasite capable of infecting cattle, but it is not entirely clear how such canines typically acquire their infections. Of late, increasing attention has been paid to the role that white-tailed deer may play as a reservoir of infection. Here, we recovered viable parasites from each of two fetuses derived from pregnant deer who had antibodies to the parasite. This provides the first direct evidence that the parasite can be transmitted congenitally in deer, and provides valuable information about the contribution that deer may play in maintaining cycles of infection. This information will be of interest to wildlife biologists, to veterinarians, to dairy and cattle farmers interested in protecting the reproductive health of cattle.

Technical Abstract: Neosporosis is an important cause of bovine abortion worldwide. Many aspects of transmission of Neospora caninum in nature are unknown. The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is considered one of the most important wildlife reservoirs of N. caninum in the USA. During the hunting seasons of 2008, 2009, and 2010, brains of 155 white-tailed deer fetuses were bioassayed in mice for protozoal isolation. Viable N. caninum (NcWTDMn1, NcWTDMn2) was isolated from the brains of two fetuses by bioassays in mice, and subsequent propagation in cell culture. Dams of these two infected fetuses had antibodies to N. caninum by Neospora agglutination test at 1:100 serum dilution. DNA obtained from culture-derived N. caninum tachyzoites of the two isolates with Nc5 PCR confirmed diagnosis. Results prove congenital transmission of N. caninum in the white tailed deer for the first time.