Spatial distribution of seropositivity to the causative agent of granulocytic ehrlichiosis in dogs in California

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Objective - To assess spatial and temporal patterns of seroprevalence among dogs in California to the causative agent of granulocytic ehrlichiosis (GE). Sample Population - Sera of 1,082 clinically normal dogs from 54 of 59 counties in California in 1997 to 1998. Procedures - Serum-specific IgG reactivity to Ehrlichia equi was assessed by use of an immunofluorescent antibody assay, using E equi-infected horse neutrophils as substrate. Data were analyzed, using a geographic information system. Spatial analysis of seroprevalence included first order Bayesian analysis of seroprevalence and second order analysis of clustering by K-function and Cuzick-Edwards tests. Monthly seroprevalence among dogs was examined by use of regression on monthly densities of Ixodes pacificus adults and nymphs. Results - Seroprevalence among dogs to E equi was 8.68%. Data were seasonally bimodal with highest prevalence in winter (when adult ticks were abundant) and a secondary peak in late spring (corresponding to nymphal ticks). Humboldt County had the highest seroprevalence (47.3%), and other northern coast range counties had seroprevalence from 15 to 30%. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - The patchy distribution of exposure to Ehrlichia organisms is a subset of the distribution of the tick vector. This may reflect enzootic cycles or climatic or historical factors that limited the range of the disease. Dogs, horses, and humans from north coast range counties in California are at increased risk of GE. These data provide a background for assessing risk of infection in horses and dogs, depending on geographic location. Dogs may be sentinels for assessing risk of GE in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1605
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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