Seroepidemiologic survey of antibodies to Ehrlichia equi in horses of northern California

John E. Madigan From the Department of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine (Madigan, DeRock), and the California State Diagnostic Laboratory System (Hietala), University of California, Davis, CA 95616 and School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111 (Chalmers).

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Sharon Hietala From the Department of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine (Madigan, DeRock), and the California State Diagnostic Laboratory System (Hietala), University of California, Davis, CA 95616 and School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111 (Chalmers).

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Stephanie Chalmers From the Department of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine (Madigan, DeRock), and the California State Diagnostic Laboratory System (Hietala), University of California, Davis, CA 95616 and School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111 (Chalmers).

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Elfriede DeRock From the Department of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine (Madigan, DeRock), and the California State Diagnostic Laboratory System (Hietala), University of California, Davis, CA 95616 and School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111 (Chalmers).

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Summary

The prevalence of antibodies to Ehrlichia equi in horses from the foothill regions of northern California and from the Sacramento valley (non-foothill area) was determined, using an indirect fluorescent antibody test. Horses from foothill regions had a higher prevalence of seropositivity (10.4%) and higher titer (1:10 to 1:80) than did those from non-foothill regions (3.1%; titer ≤ 1:10). Fifty percent of healthy horses on a foothill farm enzootic for E equi had titer to E equi, suggesting that infection with E equi can be subclinical. Six veterinarians surveyed from northern California diagnosed clinical E equi infection in 38 horses during 1985-1986 based on clinical signs of infection and observation of E equi inclusion bodies in neutrophils on blood smears.

Summary

The prevalence of antibodies to Ehrlichia equi in horses from the foothill regions of northern California and from the Sacramento valley (non-foothill area) was determined, using an indirect fluorescent antibody test. Horses from foothill regions had a higher prevalence of seropositivity (10.4%) and higher titer (1:10 to 1:80) than did those from non-foothill regions (3.1%; titer ≤ 1:10). Fifty percent of healthy horses on a foothill farm enzootic for E equi had titer to E equi, suggesting that infection with E equi can be subclinical. Six veterinarians surveyed from northern California diagnosed clinical E equi infection in 38 horses during 1985-1986 based on clinical signs of infection and observation of E equi inclusion bodies in neutrophils on blood smears.

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