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Detection and experimental transmission of a novel Babesia isolate in captive olive baboons (Papio cynocephalus anubis).


ABSTRACT: Babesia spp. are tick-transmitted apicomplexan hemoparasites that infect mammalian red blood cells. Our purpose was to determine the prevalence of Babesia infection in a colony of captive baboons and to evaluate potential experimental routes of the transmission of the hemoparasite. DNA was extracted from the blood of baboons and tested for infection with Babesia by PCR and primers that amplify the 18s rRNA gene of the parasite. The overall prevalence of infection of Babesia in the baboon population was 8.8% (73 of 830). Phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced DNA from 2 baboons revealed that the Babesia isolate found in captive baboons was a novel species most closely related (97% to 99%) to B. leo. Blood from a Babesia-infected donor baboon was inoculated intravenously, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously into 3 naive baboons. The intravenously inoculated baboon was PCR-positive at 7 d after inoculation; the 2 baboons inoculated by other routes became PCR-positive at 10 d after inoculation. All 3 baboons remained PCR-positive for Babesia through day 31. Baboons experimentally inoculated with the new Babesia isolate did not exhibit clinical signs of babesiosis during the experiments. We demonstrated that captive baboons are infected with a novel Babesia isolate. In addition we showed that Babesia can be transmitted in the absence of the organism's definitive host (ticks) by transfer of infected blood through intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous routes to naive baboons.

SUBMITTER: Reichard MV 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3148650 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): FJ897741

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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