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Serosurvey of horses with evidence of equine monocytic ehrlichiosis.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Horses, Animals, Antibodies, Bacterial, blood, Ehrlichia, immunology, Female, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Horse Diseases, epidemiology, Age Factors, Immunoglobulin G, analysis, Immunoglobulin M, Male, Ohio, Prevalence, Rickettsiaceae Infections, veterinary

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      Abstract

      In August 1986, an extensive serosurvey for prevalence of IgG and IgM antibodies against Ehrlichia risticii, the causative agent of equine monocytic ehrlichiosis (EME), was performed at 2 Ohio racetracks, River Downs (RD) and Beulah Park (BP). Of 840 horses at RD and 574 at BP, 13 and 20%, respectively, were IgG antibody-positive (by indirect fluorescent antibody test results), with antibody titer ranging from 1:20 to 1:10,240. The titer observed at highest frequency at both racetracks was 1:80. A higher proportion of horses was ill at RD (operating during the summer months) than at BP (winter track). Of ill horses, 41% (24/58) at RD and 58% (11/19) at BP were seropositive. At RD, 70% (589/840) of all horses and 95% (102/107) of IgG seropositive horses had been stabled only at RD during the month prior to testing. Analysis of these sera by use of an ELISA to detect IgM antibody against E risticii antigen indicated that at RD, 42% (57/137) of the seropositive horses were IgM seropositive. At BP, 17% (20/120) of seropositive horses were IgM seropositive. The larger number of IgM seropositive horses at RD indicates that more horses were recently infected at RD than at BP (P = 0.0001). Therefore, at least half the seropositive horses at RD seemed to have acquired the infection at RD. These serosurvey data also indicate that at BP and RD, 78% (85/109) and 91% (111/122) of IgG seropositive horses, respectively, had subclinical infection. At less than or equal to 1:40 titer, there was no difference in seropositive rates between healthy and ill horses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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