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  • Author or Editor: Jeannine Berger Pusterla x
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Objective—To determine susceptibility of cattle to infection with Ehrlichia equi and the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE).

Design—Experimental disease and prevalence survey.

Animals—6 cattle, 2 horses, and 2,725 serum samples from healthy cattle.

Procedure—2 cattle and 1 horse were inoculated with E equi, 2 cattle and 1 horse were inoculated with the HGE agent, and 2 cattle served as sham-inoculated controls; inoculated animals were evaluated via clinical, hematologic, serologic, and real-time polymerase chain reaction tests. Prevalence of antibodies against E equi in 2,725 healthy cattle was determined by use of an indirect immunofluorescent technique.

Results—No abnormal clinical or hematologic findings or inclusion bodies within granulocytes were observed in the cattle after inoculation, and results of all polymerase chain reaction tests were negative. Seroconversion in inoculated cattle developed 10 to 12 days after inoculation (reciprocal titers, 160). Both horses developed clinical signs of ehrlichiosis. Five of 2,725 (0.18%) cattle were seropositive for E equi, with titers ranging from 20 to 80. All seropositive cattle originated from the same tick-rich region in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that cattle are not susceptible to infection with E equi or the agent of HGE and that prevalence of exposure to E equi in healthy cattle is low. Therefore, E equi and the agent of HGE are likely of negligible importance for cattle in North America. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1160–1162)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To develop and use a sensitive molecular assay for detecting the phospholipase D (PLD) exotoxin gene of Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis in an attempt to identify insect vectors that may be important in transmission of clinical disease in horses.

Sample Population—2,621 flies of various species.

Procedure—A real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based fluorogenic 5' nuclease (TaqMan) system (ie, TaqMan PCR assay) was developed for the detection of the PLD gene in insects. Flies were collected monthly (May to November 2002) from 5 farms in northern California where C pseudotuberculosis infection in horses is endemic. Three of the 5 farms (which housed a total of 358 horses) had diseased horses during the study period. A total of 2,621 flies of various species were tested for the PLD gene of C pseudotuberculosis.

Results—Evidence of bacterial DNA for the PLD gene was detected in skin biopsy specimens from clinically affected horses and from 3 fly species collected from farms where affected horses were housed. Farms with a high incidence of diseased horses had a high proportion of insects carrying the organism. High percentages of flies with positive results for the PLD gene were observed in October, when most clinically affected horses were observed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that C pseudotuberculosis may be vectored to horses by flies. Three potential vectors were identified, including Haematobia irritans, Stomoxys calcitrans, and Musca domestica. The organism can be identified in up to 20% of house flies (Musca domestica) in the vicinity of diseased horses. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:829–834)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research