Diagnosis of epizootic bovine abortion in Nevada and identification of the vector

Mark R. Hall, Donald Hanks, William Kvasnicka, Alan Bosomworth, Harry Smith, Jeffrey L Stott, Myra Blanchard, Mark L Anderson

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14 Scopus citations


In the 43 years since the first description in California, epizootic bovine abortion (EBA) has been considered but not definitively diagnosed as a cause of late-term abortions on Nevada ranches. Examination of aborted full-term bovine fetuses obtained from Nevada ranches revealed gross abnormalities consistent with EBA (enlarged lymph nodes, petechial hemorrhages of the oral mucosa and conjunctiva, ascites, and splenohepatomegaly), and EBA was confirmed by histologic examination of fetal tissues. The histologic thymic changes were characteristic of EBA and included severe histocytic thymusitis with depletion of thymocytes, interlobular hemorrhage, and fibrinocellular exudation. The gross enlargement of lymph nodes was the result of cortical follicular hyperplasia and histiocytic lymphadenitis. In addition, widespread, predominately nonsuppurative histologic lesions typical of EBA were observed in most organs, including the brain, lung, heart, liver, and spleen. Furthermore, the presence of Ornithodorus coriaceus, the argasid tick vector of EBA, was established by tick collection using CO2 traps. The tick was identified on ranches and in geographic areas (northern and northwestern counties of Nevada) coincident with diagnosis of multiple cases of EBA. This study establishes the presence of EBA as a cause of late-term abortion in Nevada. Additionally, identification of the EBA tick vector, O. coriaceus, in the same areas as the abortions provides strong evidence that the disease is endemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)


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