Seroprevalence of antibodies against Coccidioides immitis in healthy horses

Jill C. Higgins Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center, 1685 S Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.
Present address is Loomis Basin Large Animal Services, 3901 Sierra College Blvd, Loomis, CA 95650.

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 DVM
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Gayle S. Leith Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center, 1685 S Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

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 DVM, MS, DAVBP
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Ed D. Voss Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center, 1685 S Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

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 DVM, DACVIM
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Demosthenes Pappagianis Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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 MD, PhD

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the seroprevalence of antibodies against Coccidioides immitis in healthy horses residing in an area in which the organism is endemic.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—197 healthy horses (in which coccidioidomycosis had not been previously diagnosed) that resided in an area of Arizona in which coccidioidomycosis is endemic.

Procedure—Of the horses evaluated at the Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center during a 6-month period, 197 with no clinical signs of coccidioidomycosis were randomly selected for inclusion in the study; sera were evaluated for IgM and IgG antibodies against C immitis via an immunodiffusion assay (IgGpositive samples were assessed quantitatively). Within 6 months, recheck titer evaluations were attempted for all seropositive horses.

Results—Serum antibodies against C immitis were detected in 8 of 197 horses (seroprevalence, 4.06%). Results of serologic assays were positive for IgG antibodies and negative for IgM antibodies in 7 horses and positive for both IgG and IgM antibodies in 1 horse; reciprocal serum IgG antibody titers were low (none > 8). Follow-up serologic data were obtained from 5 horses; compared with initial findings, horses had become seronegative or titers were unchanged or decreased. Duration of residence in the area was significantly shorter for seropositive horses than for seronegative horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serum antibodies against C immitis may rarely be detected in healthy horses residing in an area in which the disease is endemic; any horse with a detectable serum antibody titer should be reevaluated after an interval of at least 3 weeks. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1888–1892)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the seroprevalence of antibodies against Coccidioides immitis in healthy horses residing in an area in which the organism is endemic.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—197 healthy horses (in which coccidioidomycosis had not been previously diagnosed) that resided in an area of Arizona in which coccidioidomycosis is endemic.

Procedure—Of the horses evaluated at the Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center during a 6-month period, 197 with no clinical signs of coccidioidomycosis were randomly selected for inclusion in the study; sera were evaluated for IgM and IgG antibodies against C immitis via an immunodiffusion assay (IgGpositive samples were assessed quantitatively). Within 6 months, recheck titer evaluations were attempted for all seropositive horses.

Results—Serum antibodies against C immitis were detected in 8 of 197 horses (seroprevalence, 4.06%). Results of serologic assays were positive for IgG antibodies and negative for IgM antibodies in 7 horses and positive for both IgG and IgM antibodies in 1 horse; reciprocal serum IgG antibody titers were low (none > 8). Follow-up serologic data were obtained from 5 horses; compared with initial findings, horses had become seronegative or titers were unchanged or decreased. Duration of residence in the area was significantly shorter for seropositive horses than for seronegative horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serum antibodies against C immitis may rarely be detected in healthy horses residing in an area in which the disease is endemic; any horse with a detectable serum antibody titer should be reevaluated after an interval of at least 3 weeks. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1888–1892)

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