Investigating the presence of equine piroplasmosis in Ireland

Coultous, R. , Leadon, D. P., Shiels, B. , Sutton, D. and Weir, W. (2020) Investigating the presence of equine piroplasmosis in Ireland. Veterinary Record, 187(11), e97. (doi: 10.1136/vr.105937) (PMID:32887846)

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Background: Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is a notifiable disease in Ireland and a significant concern to domestic and international equine industries. Information regarding EP presence in Ireland is currently limited. This retrospective surveillance study describes a serological and molecular analysis of blood samples submitted to the Irish Equine Centre for EP testing between January 2013 and April 2016. Methods: Following serological testing, seropositive samples were screened using a PCR targeting the 18S ribosomal RNA gene. Amplicon sequences were bioinformatically analysed to identify the parasite species and to assess genetic diversity. Results: From 2099 screened equine blood samples, 2.5 per cent and 1 per cent were seropositive for Theileria equi and Babesia caballi, respectively. T equi DNA was detected in 9 per cent of the seropositive samples while B caballi DNA was not detected in any sample. The T equi DNA sequences displayed no genetic diversity at this locus, in contrast to samples from the UK and from endemic areas. Conclusion: Detection of EP-seropositive and parasitaemic horses in Ireland indicates a clear and present health risk to the equine population. It is recommended that owners adopt appropriate biosecurity measures and that clinicians are mindful of this disease as a differential diagnosis.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) funded the cost of the nested PCR screening and Sanger sequencing as part of an HBLB research scholarship held by RMC (VET/RS/254). RMC is currently supported by an HBLB research fellowship (VET/EPDF/2019-1).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shiels, Professor Brian and Sutton, Professor David and Coultous, Dr Robert and Weir, Professor Willie
Authors: Coultous, R., Leadon, D. P., Shiels, B., Sutton, D., and Weir, W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Veterinary Record
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2042-7670
Published Online:04 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © British Veterinary Association 2020
First Published:First published in Veterinary Record 187(11):e97-e97
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190867Equine piroplasmosis: evaluating the threat to the UK and IrelandWilliam WeirHorserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB)VET/RS/254Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
304516Coultous HBLB PostdocBrian ShielsHorserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB)VET/EPDF/2019-1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine