Babesiosis is a hemolytic disease caused by protozoans of the genus Babesia (Apicomplexa). This disease occurs worldwide and is transmitted by ticks to a variety of mammals, including humans. The objective of the present study was to optimize a molecular approach for the detection of a fragment of 18S rDNA of Babesia canis, Babesia vogeli, Babesia rossi or Babesia gibsoni based on a single semi-nested Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and compare the efficiency of this approach with that of a simple PCR protocol. To this end, 100 blood samples collected from dogs with suspected hemoparasite infections were analyzed. A comparison of the results of simple PCR and semi-nested PCR indicated a highly significant difference (p value = 0.0000). While only five (5%) of the samples tested positive using the simple protocol, 22 (22%) were positive using the snPCR technique. The results of this study reinforce the findings of previous studies, which have demonstrated the greater sensitivity of tests based on nested or semi-nested PCR. Therefore, to avoid false-negative results due to low levels of parasitemia, we suggest the preferential use of this protocol in epidemiological studies of canine babesiosis, particularly those that require reliable estimates of the prevalence of infection.
Babesia ; molecular diagnosis; semi-nested PCR; eastern Amazonia