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Research Project: Pharmacological and Immunologic Interventions Against Vector-Borne Bovine and Equine Babesiosis

Location: Animal Disease Research

Title: Serological & molecular diagnostic surveys combined with examining hematological profiles suggest increased levels of infection & hematological response of cattle to babesiosis infections compared to native buffaloes in Egypt

Author
item MAHMOUD, M - Egypt National Research Center
item KANDIL, O - Egypt National Research Center
item NASR, S - Egypt National Research Center
item HENDAWY, SH - Egypt National Research Center
item HABEEB, S - Egypt National Research Center
item MABROUK, D - Egypt National Research Center
item SILVA, M - Washington State University
item Suarez, Carlos

Submitted to: Parasites & Vectors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2015
Publication Date: 6/12/2015
Citation: Mahmoud, M.S., Kandil, O.M., Nasr, S.M., Hendawy, S.M., Habeeb, S.M., Mabrouk, D.M., Silva, M.G., Suarez, C.E. 2015. Serological & molecular diagnostic surveys combined with examining hematological profiles suggest increased levels of infection & hematological response of cattle to babesiosis infections compared to native buffaloes in Egypt. Parasites & Vectors. doi: 10.1186/s13071-015-0928-9.

Interpretive Summary: The main objectives of this study were estimating the prevalence of bovine babesiosis in distinct populations in Egypt, and examining hematological alterations present in this group of animals including bovines and buffaloes. Blood field samples were tested for Babesia infection using blood film examination, cELISA and novel PCR assays with species-specific primers. The data suggests a relatively high prevalence of B. bovis and B. bigemina caused babesiosis in Egypt. Infected cattle populations also present hematological disorders compatible with intravascular hemolysis and thrombocytopenia regardless of the stage of the disease. However, when compared to cattle, hematological changes were less evident in buffaloes naturally infected with Babesia sp. The improvement of babesial infection diagnosis will facilitate our understanding of the disease and the development of better methods for control for these important diseases of cattle.

Technical Abstract: Background: Babesiosis threatens the development of the cattle and buffaloes industries in Egypt and improved control is needed. The main objectives of this study are surveying the presence of bovine babesiosis in distinct selected bovine and buffalo populations in Egypt using novel molecular and previously validated serological methods, while also comparing the occurrence of hematological alterations among Babesia infected cattle and buffalos. Methods: A total of 253 and 81 blood samples from apparently healthy cattle and buffaloes, respectively, were randomly collected from diverse locations in Egypt. All samples were tested for Babesia bovis and B. bigemina infection using blood film examination, competitive ELISA (cELISA) and PCR. Novel semi-nested and nested PCR assays for the detection of B. bovis and B. bigemina respectively, were developed and used to analyze DNA extracted from bovine and buffalo samples. Hematological profiles were studied using a hematological analyzer. Results: Blood films examination revealed 13.8% and 7.4% Babesia infection rates in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. However, in cattle, the cELISA detected 32.8%, 21.3% and 10.7% infection rates with B. bigemina, B. bovis and mixed infection, respectively. In addition, cELISA identified 22.2%, 22.2% and 6.2% infection rates with B. bigemina, B. bovis and mixed infection, respectively in buffaloes. The semi-nested PCR assay showed that 15% of the tested samples were positive for B. bovis in cattle, but just 3% in buffaloes. Infections with B. bigemina were also found in cattle (32.4%), but not in buffaloes upon nested PCR analysis. Sequencing analysis confirmed the identity of the PCR amplicons and showed that Egyptian genotypes of B. bigemina and B. bovis highly resemble sequences previously deposited in GenBank. Hemograms performed on the sampled animals revealed macrocytic hypochromic anemia associated with reduced platelet counts in infected cattle with babesiosis. In addition, marked increases in total leukocyte and granulocytic counts and decreases in lymphocytic counts were found in infected cattle. In contrast, no such hematological anomalies were found in presumably Babesia-infected buffaloes. Conclusions: Frequent occurrence of babesiosis among apparently healthy bovines in Egypt, suggests the need for appropriately designed prevalence studies in this country. Infected bovine, but not buffalo, populations often present hematological disorders compatible with intravascular hemolysis and thrombocytopenia.