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Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research

On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
Print version ISSN 0030-2465

Onderstepoort j. vet. res. vol.75 n.2 Pretoria  2008




Prevalence of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infections in horses belonging to resource-poor farmers in the north-eastern Free State Province, South Africa



M.Y. MotloangI, II; O.M.M. ThekisoeIII; A. AlhassanIII; M. BakheitI; M.P. MotheoI; F.E.S. MasanganeI; M.I. ThibediI; N. InoueIII; I. IgarashiIII; C. SugimotoIV; P.A. MbatiI

IParasitology Research Programme, University of the Free State, Qwaqwa Campus, Phuthaditjhaba, 9866 South Africa
IIARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, Parasitology Division, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa
IIINational Research Center for Protozoan Diseases, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, Hokkaido, 080-8555, Japan
IVCenter for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0818 Japan




The prevalence of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infections in the north-eastern Free State Province of South Africa was determined by examination of thin and thick Giemsa-stained blood smears, IFAT and PCR. No parasites were detected by microscopy from any blood samples collected at five study sites, Qwaqwa, Kestell, Harrismith, Vrede and Warden. Of the tested serum samples, 28/29 (96.5 %), 20/21 (95.2 %) and 42/42 (100 %) were positive by IFAT for T. equi infections in Harrismith, Kestell and Qwaqwa, respectively, and 5/29 (17.2 %>), 13/21 (61.9 %>) and 30/42 (71.4 %>) were sero-positive for B. caballi infections in Harrismith, Kestell and Qwaqwa, respectively. All DNA samples from the study sites were negative for B. caballi infections by PCR, but five samples, two from each of Kestell and Warden and one from Vrede, were PCR positive for T. equi infections. The high prevalence of antibodies against T. equi and B. caballi in the sampled horses indicates that the animals had been exposed to T. equi and B. caballi infections but the absence of parasitaemia and very low number of positive PCR samples, however, imply that T. equi and B. caballi are endemically stable in the north-eastern Free State Province.

Keywords: Babesia caballi, Free State, Theileria equi



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Accepted for publication 14 April 2008-Editor



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