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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- bovine babesiosis
International Common Names
- English: cattle fever; redwater; Texas fever; tick fever
OverviewTop of page
Bovine babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia; Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina are widely distributed and of major importance in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America, whereas Babesia divergens is economically important in some parts of Europe.
Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus is the principal vector of B. bigemina and B. bovis and is widespread in the tropics and subtropics. The vector of B. divergens is Ixodes ricinus. Other important vectors include Haemaphysalis, and other Rhipicephalus spp.
Babesia bigemina has the widest distribution, but B. bovis is generally more pathogenic than B. bigemina or B. divergens. B. bovis infections are characterised by high fever, ataxia, anorexia, general circulatory shock, and sometimes also nervous signs as a result of sequestration of infected erythrocytes in cerebral capillaries. Anaemia and haemoglobinuria may appear later in the course of the disease. In B. bigemina infections, the major signs include fever, haemoglobinuria and anaemia. Intravascular sequestration of infected erythrocytes does not occur with B. bigemina infections. The parasitaemia and clinical appearance of B. divergens infections are somewhat similar to B. bigemina infections (Zintl et al., 2003).
Bovine babesiosis is economically the most important arthropod-borne disease of cattle worldwide (Bock et al., 2004). Vaccines consisting of live, attenuated strains of B. bovis, B. bigemina or B. divergens are produced in several countries from the blood of infected donor animals or from in-vitro culture; although they confer protection, they have considerable disadvantages. Important research is directed towards improved vaccination strategies (reviewed by Florin-Christensen et al., 2014).
Bovine babesiosis is on the list of diseases notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). For information on this disease from OIE, see the website: www.oie.int.
For further information, also see the broader datasheet on babesiosis.
ReferencesTop of page
Florin-Christensen M; Suarez CE; Rodriguez AE; Flores DA; Schnittger L, 2014. Vaccines against bovine babesiosis: where we are now and possible roads ahead. Parasitology, 141(12):1563-1592. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=par
Zintl A; Mulcahy G; Skerrett HE; Taylor SM; Gray JS, 2003. Babesia divergens, a bovine blood parasite of veterinary and zoonotic importance. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 16:622-36.