Babesia spp. infection in Boophilus microplus engorged females and eggs in São Paulo State, Brazil
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Babesia spp. infections were investigated in Bos taurus x Bos indicus dairy cows and calves and in Boophilus microplus engorged female ticks and eggs. Blood samples and engorged female ticks were collected from 25 cows and 27 calves. Babesia spp. was detected in ticks by microscopic examination of hemolymph of engorged female and by squashes of egg samples. Cattle infection was investigated in blood thin smears and by DNA amplification methods (PCR and nested PCR), using specific primers for Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina. Merozoites of B. bovis (3 animals) and B. bigemina (12 animals) were detected exclusively in blood smears of calves. DNA amplification methods revealed that the frequency of B. bigemina infection in calves (92.6%) and in cows (84%) and of B. bovis in calves (85.2%) and in cows (100%) did not differ significantly (P > 0.05). Babesia spp. infection was more frequent in female ticks and eggs collected from calves (P < 0.01) than from cows, especially in those which had patent parasitemia. Hatching rates of B. microplus larvae were assessed according to the origin of engorged females, parasiternia of the vertebrate host, frequency and intensity of infection in engorged female tick, and frequency of egg infection. Hatching rate was lower in samples collected from calves (P < 0.01) than from cows, and in those in which Babesia spp. was detected in egg samples (P < 0.01). Published by Elsevier B.V.