Ticks and tick-borne disease in Guatemalan cattle and horses

Mike Teglas, Erin Matern, Sarah Lein, Patrick Foley, Suman M Mahan, Janet Foley
Veterinary Parasitology 2005 July 15, 131 (1): 119-27
Blood samples and ticks were collected from 48 cattle and 74 horses from seven sites in the Peten region of Guatemala. Data on body condition, mucous membrane capillary refill time and tick infestation levels were recorded for each animal in the study. Horses had significantly higher levels of tick infestation than cattle, as well as poorer body condition scores. Seroprevalence of Babesia spp. was 95.8% for B. bovis in cattle, 89.6% for B. bigemina in cattle, and 92.7% for B. equi in horses. Seroprevalence of Anaplasma marginale in cattle was 87.5%, similar to reports in animals from other regions of Central America. This is the first time that A. phagocytophilum has been reported in animals from this region, with overall PCR-prevalence of 27.6% in cattle and horses, and seroprevalence of 28.4% (52% in cattle and 13% in horses). An agent was identified with serological cross-reactivity and close genetic relatedness to Ehrlichia ruminantium, but further testing confirmed that the agent in Guatemalan cows was not the agent of heartwater. Ticks were identified to species with the predominant species identified on cattle as Boophilus microplus and Amblyomma cajennense, while Anocentor nitens and A. cajennense were most commonly found on horses. Prevalence of infection, tick infestation levels, host factors and environmental data were analyzed for association; A. nitens was significantly associated with A. phagocytophilum prevalence by village.

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