Comparison of diagnostic methods to detect piroplasms in asymptomatic cattle

R. Galuppi, C. Bonoli, S. Aureli, R. Cassini, F. Marcer, Janet E Foley, M. P. Tampieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study was carried out to compare different diagnostic techniques to reveal the presence of piroplasms in asymptomatic cattle kept at pasture. Nineteen blood samples were collected from animals of two different areas of Emilia Romagna Region of Italy and processed for microscopic observation, PCR, serological test (IFAT) for Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina antibodies and in vitro cultivation. The cultures were performed on both bovine and ovine erythrocytes. Seventeen blood smears (89%) were positive for piroplasms, while PCR was positive on 18 samples (95%). DNA sequencing of 18S rRNA identified the piroplasms as Theileria spp. In vitro cultures were successful for 6 samples (32%) cultured on bovine blood and subsequent identified these as Babesia major by PCR. On IFAT analyses of 16 samples, 36.8% resulted positive for B. bovis and 31.6% positive for B. bigemina.These results show, in the same animals, the co-infection with Babesia spp. and Theileria spp.; the detection of B. major was possible only using the in vitro cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 10 2012


  • Babesia spp.
  • Blood cultures
  • Blood smear
  • PCR
  • Serology
  • Theileria spp.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)


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