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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Animal Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346897

Research Project: Development of Detection and Control Strategies for Bovine Babesiosis and Equine Piroplasmosis

Location: Animal Disease Research

Title: First detection of diffuse and cerebral theileria equi infection in neonatal filly

Author
item Levi, M - University Of Jerusalem
item Tirosh-levy, S - Hebrew University Of Jerusalem
item Dahan, R - Hebrew University Of Jerusalem
item Berlin, D - Hebrew University Of Jerusalem
item Steinman, A - Hebrew University Of Jerusalem
item Edery, N - University Of Jerusalem
item Savistsky, I - University Of Jerusalem
item Lebovich, B - University Of Jerusalem
item Knowles Jr, Donald
item Suarez, Carlos

Submitted to: Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/16/2017
Publication Date: 10/28/2017
Citation: Levi, M.M., Tirosh-Levy, S., Dahan, R., Berlin, D., Steinman, A., Edery, N., Savistsky, I., Lebovich, B., Knowles Jr, D.P., Suarez, C.E. 2017. First detection of diffuse and cerebral theileria equi infection in neonatal filly. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 60:23-28.

Interpretive Summary: Theileria equi is a tick borne hemoparasite that may cause severe illness in equids. Intrauterine transmission of T. equi can occurs and may result in abortion, still birth or neonatal piroplasmosis of foals. Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infection are present in Israel and sub-clinical infection with T. equi is highly prevalent. Here we describe a case of a lethal neonatal piroplasmosis which manifested with diffuse and cerebral T. equi infection. T. equi infection in brain, to our knowledge, has never been reported previously. Further studies should be done to determine whether the cerebral infection observed here was caused by the phenotypic particularities of the T. equi strain involved, or resulted from intrinsic/unique characteristics of the immune responses elicited by the parasite in the infected foal.

Technical Abstract: Theileria equi is a tick borne hemoparasite that may cause severe illness in equids. Intrauterine transmission of T. equi can occurs and may result in abortion, still birth or neonatal piroplasmosis of foals. Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infection are present in Israel and sub-clinical infection with T. equi is highly prevalent. Here we describe a case of a lethal neonatal piroplasmosis which manifested with diffuse and cerebral T. equi infection. A Quarter-horse filly was born to a mare known to be chronically infected with T. equi. The filly was born weak, could not stand and suckle, had jaundice, pigmenturia, and died within hours from parturition. High T. equi parasitemia was detected in stained blood smears and imprint smears of different organs, and further confirmed by PCR and sequence analysis. Parasites were also found in brain capillaries. Culture from the mare's blood enabled isolation of T. equi parasites. Phylogenetic analysis of the T. equi 18S rRNA gene from the dam's isolate and from the filly was identical and showed high similarity to other previous reported T. equi sequences from Israel. T. equi infection in brain, to our knowledge, has never been reported previously. Further studies should be done to determine whether the cerebral infection observed here was caused by the phenotypic particularities of the T. equi strain involved, or resulted from intrinsic/unique characteristics of the immune responses elicited by the parasite in the infected foal.