Iranian Journal of Parasitology 2016. 11(1):86-90.

Microscopic and Molecular detection of Theileria (Babesia) equi infection in equids of Kurdistan Province, Iran
Gholamreza HABIBI, Kasra ESMAEILNIA, Mohammad Hasan HABLOLVARID, Asghar AFSHARI, Mohsen ZAMEN, Soghra BOZORGI


Background: Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is the cause of persistent tick-borne infection with no symptoms, but the most important problem of EP is due to the persistent carrier state. Carrier animals to Babesia (Theileria) equi (Laveran 1901) and B. caballi (Nuttall, 1910) infestation could be identified by extremely sensitive PCR-based method. The purpose of this study was to identify the causative agents of equine piroplasmosis based on molecular and microscopic assays in equids from Kurdistan Province, Iran.

Methods: Thirty one horse and mule blood samples were used with history of liv­ing in Kurdistan Province of Iran.  The blood specimens were utilized for T. equi and B. caballi DNA identification by PCR and Giemsa stained smears for micro­scopic observation.

Results: The results clearly showed the presence of B. (Theileria) equi DNA in 30 of 31 blood samples (96.77%), but the microscopic examination revealed the 3 of 31 positive Babesia like organisms in the red blood cells (9.67%). 

Conclusion: The obtained results demonstrated the presence of hidden B. (Theil­eria) equi infection in horses with previous habitance in Kurdistan Province of Iran. The carrier animals became a main source of infection and can transmit the disease. Therefore, hidden infection might be considered as a health threatening and limit­ing factor in animals used in therapeutic antisera research and production centers.


Theileria; Babesia equi; PCR; Iran

Full Text:



World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 2009. Equine Piroplasmosis, EQUINE _ PRIOPLAS¬MOSIS_ FINAL. pdf, (visited on 2014/02/16).

de Waal DT. Equine piroplasmosis: a review. Br Vet J. 1992; 48(1): 6-14.

Ueti MW, Palmer GH, Scoles GA, Kappmeyer LS, Knowles DP. Persistently infected horses are reservoirs for intrastadial tick-borne trans¬mission of the apicomplexan parasite Babesia equi. Infect Immun. 2008; 76(8): 3525-9.

Seifi HA, Mohri M, Sardari K. A mixed infec¬tion of Babesia equi and Babesia caballi in a racing colt: A report from Iran. J Equine Vet Sci. 2000; 20(12): 858–860.

Aslani MR. A Case Report of Babesia caballi infection in a Foal. J Appl Anim Res. 2000; 17: 253-256.

Erfei Akhole A, Rasooli A, Razi Jalali M, Ha¬midi Nejat H, Rohizade A, Raki A.. Equine Theileriosis in two pure Arab mares in Ahwaz city. Iran Vet J. 2013; 9(1): 103-8 (in Persian).

Malekifard F, Tavassoli M, Yakhchali M, Darvishzadeh R. Detection of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi using microscopic and mo¬lecular methods in horses in suburb of Ur¬mia, Iran. Vet Res Forum. 2014; 5 (2):129-33.

Abedi V, Razmi G, Seifi H, Naghibi A. Molec¬ular and serological detection of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infection in horses and ixodid ticks in Iran. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2014; 5 (3): 239-44.

Bahrami S, Ghadrdan AR, Pourmahdi Boruje¬ni M, Vafayi Salarpur M. Epidemiology of Theileria equi in Persian Arab horses from Iran. Vet Med. 2014; 59 (9): 409–414.

Nabian S, Rahbari S, Shayan P, Haddadzadeh HR. Current Status of Tick Fauna in North of Iran. Iran J Parasitol. 2007; 2(1): 12-17.

Nabian S, Rahbari S. Occurrence of Soft and Hard Ticks on Ruminants in Zagros Moun¬tainous Areas of Iran. Iran. J Arthropod Borne Dis. 2008; 2(1): 16-20.

Ionita M, Mitrea IL, Pfister K, Hamel D, Silaghi C. Molecular evidence for bacterial and protozoan pathogens in hard ticks from Romania. Vet Parasitol. 2013; 196 (1-2): 71-6.

Jongejan F, Ringenier M, Putting M, Berger L, Burgers S, Kortekaas R, Lenssen J, van Roessel M, Wijnveld M, Madder M. Novel foci of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks infect¬ed with Babesia canis and Babesia caballi in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Parasit Vec¬tors. 2015; 8(1): 232.

Sambrook J, Fritsch EF, Maniatis T. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Volume 3, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor; NY, 1989; B.16.

Rampersad J, Cesar E, Campbell MD, Samlal M, Ammons D. A field evaluation of PCR for the routine detection of Babesia equi in horses. Vet Parasitol. 2003; 114: 81–87.

Bashiruddin JB, Cammà C, Rebêlo E. Molecu¬lar detection of Babesia equi and Babesia caballi in horse blood by PCR amplification of part of the 16S rRNA gene. Vet Parasitol. 1999; 84 (1-2): 75-83.

Knowles DJr. Equine babesiosis (Piroplasmo¬sis): a problem in the international movement of horses. Br Vet J. 1996; 52: 123–126.

Friedhoff KT, Tenter AM, Muller I. Haemo¬parasites of Equine s: impact on international trade of horses. Rev Sci Tech. 1990; 9: 1187–1194.

Al-Saad KM. Acute Babesiosis in Foals. J Anim Vet Adv. 2009; 8(12): 2585-2589.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.