, Volume 88, Issue 5, pp 405-411

Genotypically unique Babesia spp. isolated from reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in the United States

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Abstract.

Two morphologically dissimilar Babesia spp. were cultured from reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in Placer County, Calif. The smaller isolate, designated RD61, was morphologically similar to Babesia odocoilei. Serum from RD61-infected reindeer reacted equally strongly to B. odocoilei and RD61 parasites in the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test. Small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene-sequence analysis showed 99.0% identity to that of B. odocoilei. The larger piroplasm, designated RD63, resembled larger babesia organisms, such as Babesia caballi and Babesia bigemina. Serum from RD63-infected reindeer also reacted with both B. odocoilei and RD61 parasites in the indirect fluorescent antibody test. The SSU rRNA gene showed 94.2% identity to that of B. bigemina. Further studies are needed to determine whether these parasites are the same as the Babesia spp. previously documented in Siberian reindeer.

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