Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

bovine babesiosis

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Datasheet

bovine babesiosis

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • bovine babesiosis
  • Overview
  • 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, Asi...

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    Compendia
    CAB International
    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • bovine babesiosis

International Common Names

  • English: cattle fever; redwater; Texas fever; tick fever

Overview

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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.

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Bos taurus (cattle)