The epidemiology of canine Babesia infections in Zambia

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. Mudenda, Ntombi Basimbi
Nalubamba, King S.
Hankanga, Careen
Masuku, Maxwell
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This study of 1196 dogs over a period of 18 months determined the seasonal infection patterns of canine babesiosis in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. The work also describes a retrospective study of the prevalence of canine babesiosis in laboratory clinical blood samples submitted to the University of Zambia, School of Veterinary Medicine for routine haematological examination from the year 1994 to 2009. A cross-sectional study was also performed to determine the levels of Babesia in a low-income society (during the dry season and the wet season of the year), where 361 samples were collected from dogs presented for mass rabies vaccination campaigns. Morphology of the Babesia indicated that all were of the large-sized Babesia canis infection. Babesia-positive dogs had significantly higher rectal temperatures than negative ones, and dogs younger than 1 year were more likely to be Babesia positive followed by those between 2 and 5 years old. Seasonal trends indicate two peaks, one in the rainy season (November–March) and another in the cold dry season (June/July). Monthly prevalence rates of Babesia ranged from 0% to 2.4% in natural populations and from 0% to 28.6% in laboratory specimens. This study shows that Zambia has lower Babesia prevalence than reported in other African countries.
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Canine babesiosis , Babesia canis infection.