Comparative pathogenesis of human WA1 and Babesia microti isolates in a syrian hamster model

Edward J. Wozniak, Linda J Lowenstine, Ruth Hemmer, Tom Robinson, Patricia A Conrad

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35 Scopus citations


The pathogenesis of a newly recognized, molecularly and antigenically distinct human babesial isolate (WA1) and Babesia microti, the common cause of human babesiosis in the United States, were compared in a Syrian hamster model. A group of 33 adult female hamsters were inoculated intraperitoneally with either WA1-infected, B. microti-infected, or uninfected hamster erythrocytes. All WA1-infected animals became parasitemic by postinoculation (PI) day 3 or 4 and were severely lethargic and dyspneic by PI days 6 to 10. Death often occurred spontaneously by PI day 10, with parasitemia of 12 to 90%. Hamsters inoculated with B. microti became parasitemic by PI day 7 and developed peak parasitemia (42 to 60%) by PI day 14 that subsequently decreased to low or undetectable values. Although the B. microti-infected hamsters developed severe anemia, they generally remained asymptomatic. Postmortem examination of WA1-infected hamsters revealed intravascular aggregates of large mononuclear inflammatory cells that occasionally occluded small to medium veins, pulmonary leukoclastic phlebitis, thrombosis, and multifocal coagulative necrosis in the heart, spleen, lung, and liver. No vascular lesions or areas of coagulative necrosis were detected in any B. microti-infected or control hamsters. The results of this study suggest that marked leukocytosis followed by acute necrotizing phlebitis resulting in disseminated intravascular coagulation, thromboembolism, and infarction may be central to the pathogenesis of WA1 infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-515
Number of pages9
JournalLaboratory Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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