Bovine Babesiosis and Its Current Status in Ethiopia: A Review

Abdela Ahmed Nejash


Bovine babesiosis also known as redwater, or tick fever is the worldwide most important arthropod-borne disease of cattle that causes significant morbidity and mortality. It is caused by intra-erythrocytic protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia, which is transmitted by ticks and affects a wide range of domestic and wild animals and occasionally humans. Two important Babesia species: B. bigemina and B bovis infect cattle. They are widespread in tropical and subtropical areas including Ethiopia and are vectored by one host tick Rhipicephalus species and transmission is manly transovarially. The objective of this paper are reviewing available literature in relation to epidemiology, diagnosis, public health importance, control and preventions of bovine babesiosis and highlighting the disease status in Ethiopia.  During the tick bite, sporozoites are injected into the host and directly infect red blood cells.  Babesia produces acute disease by hemolysis and circulatory disturbance mechanism. Microscopic examination is still cheapest and fastest methods used to identify Babesia parasites. But not reliable for detection of carrier animals; in these cases molecular detection methods, or serological diagnostic procedures to demonstrate specific antibodies, are required. Although some species of Babesia such as B. microti can affect healthy people, cattle parasites seem to cause disease only in people who are immunocompromised. Active prevention and control of Babesiosis is achieved by three main methods: immunization, chemoprophylaxis and vector control. Imidocarb is the drug of choice for bovine babesiosis. The use of genetically resistant cattle such as B. indicus is proposed as sustainable approach to decrease the incidence of disease.

Keywords: Bovine babesiosis, Babesia, Ethipiopia, redwater, tick fever

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