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Detection of Babesia divergens in southern Norway by using an immunofluorescence antibody test in cow sera

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Author(s): Hasle Gunnar | Bjune Gunnar | Christensson Dan | Røed Knut | Whist Anne | Leinaas Hans

Journal: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
ISSN 1751-0147

Volume: 52;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 55;
Date: 2010;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background The incidence of bovine babesiosis, caused by Babesia divergens (Apicomplexa: Piroplasmida) has decreased markedly since the 1930 s, but may re-emerge as a consequence of climate change and changes in legislation and pasturing practices. This is a potentially serious disease, with both economical and animal welfare consequences. Therefore, there is a need to survey the distribution of B. divergens. Methods We tested sera from 306 healthy pastured cows from 24 farms along the southern Norwegian coast by using an indirect immunofluorescence IgG antibody test (IFAT). Fractions of seropositive cows were compared by calculating 95% CI. Results The results of this test showed that 27% of the sera were positive for B. divergens antibodies. The fraction of antibody-positive sera that we detected showed a two-humped distribution, with a high fraction of positives being found in municipalities in the western and eastern parts of the study area, while the municipalities between these areas had few or no positive serum samples. Conclusions Neither the farmers' observations nor the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System give an adequate picture of the distribution of bovine babesiosis. Serological testing of cows by using IFAT is a convenient way of screening for the presence of B. divergens in an area.
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