Mitigated clinical disease in water buffaloes experimentally infected with Babesia bovis

Benitez, Daniel Francisco; Mesplet, Maria; Echaide, Ignacio Eduardo; Torioni, Susana Marta; Schnittger, Leonhard; Florin-Christensen, Mónica
Publication Year
Published version
Water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) are raised in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and act as hosts of Babesia bovis parasites and the tick vector Rhipicephalus microplus. As no clinical cases of B. bovis-infection have been reported, we hypothesized that, unlike bovines, water buffaloes respond asymptomatically to an acute infection. To test this hypothesis, we inoculated two groups of 24-month-old Mediterranean breed water buffaloes with 108 erythrocytes infected with two Argentine B. bovis isolates: BboM2P (n = 5) or BboS2P (n = 5). These strains displayed mild (BboM2P) or high (BboS2P) pathogenicity in Bos taurus calves of the same age (n = 5 and n = 1, respectively), when tested in parallel. In water buffaloes, no changes in body temperature were observed with both strains, and no hematocrit changes were detected in BboM2P-inoculated animals. In contrast, in the BboS2P-inoculated water buffalo group significant but relatively minor reductions in haematocrit values were noted compared to the infected bovine. The parasitemia attained in water buffaloes was considerably lower than in bovines and could only be detected by nested PCR, or indirectly via serology, whereas in most bovines, it could also be detected in Giemsa-stained smears under the light microscope. Our results show that water buffaloes present no or significantly mitigated clinical symptoms to B. bovis infections and suggest that they are able to substantially reduce and/or eliminate B. bovis parasites from circulation by an efficient innate immune mechanism.
EEA Mercedes
Fil: Benitez, Daniel Francisco. INTA. Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Mercedes; Argentina
Fil: Mesplet, Maria. INTA. Instituto de Patobiología; Argentina
Fil: Echaide, Ignacio Eduardo. INTA. Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Rafaela; Argentina
Fil: Torioni, Susana Marta. INTA. Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Rafaela; Argentina
Fil: Schnittger, Leonhard. INTA. Instituto de Patobiología; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Fil: Florin-Christensen, Mónica. INTA. Instituto de Patobiología; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 9 (5) : 1358-1363 (July 2018)
Búfalo de Agua
Plagas de Animales
Babesia bovis
Enfermedades de los Animales
Water Buffaloes
Pests of Animals
Animal Diseases
Access level
Restricted access
INTA Digital (INTA)
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria
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