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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.87  suppl.3 Rio de Janeiro  1992 

Non-immunologic methods of diagnosis of babesiosis

G. Wagner1  , D. Cruz1  , P. Holman1  , S. Waghela1  , J. Perrone2  , S. Shompole3  , F. Rurangirwa3 

Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College Station, USA

Becton Dickinson and Company, Tropical Disease Diagnostics, Franklin Lakes, USA

Washington State University, Project at the Veterinary Research Laboratory, Kabete, Kenya


The diagnosis of tick-borne diseases such as babesiosis still depends on observing the parasite in the infected erythrocyte. Microscopic observation is tedious and often problematic in both early and carrier infections. Better diagnostic methods are needed to prevent clinical disease, especially when susceptible cattle are being moved into disease enzootic areas. This study evaluates two techniques for early diagnosis of Babesia bovis infections in cattle, DNA probes specific for the organism and fluorescent probes specific nucleic acid. The radioisotopically labeled DNA probes are used in slot blot hybridizations whith lysed blood samples, not purified DNA. Thusfar, the probe is specific for B. bovis and can detect as few as 1000 B. bovis parasites in 10µl of blood. The specificity of the fluorescent probe depends on the characteristic morphology of the babesia in whole blood samples, as determined microscopically. The fluorescent probe detects as afew as 10,000 B. bovis parasites in 10*l as blood. The application of each method for alboratory and field use is discussed.


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