Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Animal Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383538

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

Location: Animal Disease Research

Title: Babesiosis as a potential threat for bovine production in China

Author
item HE, LAN - Huazhong Agricultural University
item BASTOS, REGINALDO - Washington State University
item SUN, YALI - Qinghai University
item HUA, GUOHUA - Huazhong Agricultural University
item GUAN, GUIQUAN - Lanzhou Institute Of Veterinary Research
item ZHAO, JUNLONG - Huazhong Agricultural University
item Suarez, Carlos

Submitted to: Parasites & Vectors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2021
Publication Date: 9/7/2021
Citation: He, L., Bastos, R.G., Sun, Y., Hua, G., Guan, G., Zhao, J., Suarez, C.E. 2021. Babesiosis as a potential threat for bovine production in China. Parasites & Vectors. 14:460. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04948-3.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04948-3

Interpretive Summary: Babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne disease with global impact caused by parasites of the phylum apicomplexan, genus Babesia. Bovine babesiosis (BB) is an acute disease characterized by fever, anemia, hemoglobinuria and death due to severe lysis of erythrocytes. BB in China can be caused by several species, with some causing zoonotic diseases. This unusual diversity may be due to a combination of favorable ecological factors, including the diversity of Babesia transmission-competent tick species, and the coexistence of cattle and natural reservoirs, such as Yaks in a context of lack of efficient measures of tick control. BB is widespread in several regions of the country and considered a limiting factor for cattle production, but it is currently a neglected disease that has been expanding and should deserve more attention. Increasing research is needed in order to devise solutions to the challenges posed by uncontrolled BB. Vaccines are lacking and current critical research gaps include, risk assessment for cattle residing in endemic areas, understanding factors involved in endemic stability, evaluation of parasite diversity and pathogenicity of regional Babesia species, and the paucity of studies aimed at determining whether and how BB should be controlled in China, among others. Addressing these gaps will permit designing appropriate interventions, leading to improved cattle production, diminishing the risk of human infections, and incrementing the availability of affordable animal protein for human consumption globally.

Technical Abstract: Babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne disease with global impact caused by parasites of the phylum apicomplexan, genus Babesia. Particularly bovine babesiosis (BB), acute disease is characterized by fever, anemia, hemoglobinuria and death due to severe lysis of erythrocytes. BB in China was found to be caused by several species, including B. bovis, B. bigemina, B. orientalis, B. ovata, B. major, B. motasi, B. U. sp. Kashi and B. venatorum. Some of these parasites may pose important zoonotic risks. Occurrence of this wide diversity of Babesia species may be due to a combination of favorable ecological factors, such as the diversity of competent tick species, including Riphicephalus and Hyalomma, and coexistence of cattle and natural reservoirs, such as Yaks in a context of lack of efficient measures of tick control. BB is widespread in several regions of the country and considered a limiting factor for cattle production, but it is currently a neglected disease that has been expanding and should deserve more attention. While some areas appear to have enzootic stability, others have considerable cattle mortality and need urgent control measures. Live attenuated vaccines currently applied in endemic areas worldwide are not used in China. Increasing research is needed in order to devise solutions to the challenges posed by uncontrolled BB. Current critical research gaps include risk assessment for cattle residing in endemic areas, understanding factors involved in endemic stability, evaluation of parasite diversity and pathogenicity of regional Babesia species, and the lack of studies aimed at determining whether and how BB should be controlled in China, among others. Addressing these gaps will allow the design of appropriate interventions, which in turn should improve the cattle production, diminish the risk of human infections, and increment the availability of affordable animal protein and fiber for human consumption in China and worldwide.