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Volume 61, Issue 2


Molecular detection and prevalence of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi in horses of central Balkan

Darko Davitkov
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Equine, Small Аnimal, Poultry and Wild Animal Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Milos Vucicevic
  • Department of Equine, Small Аnimal, Poultry and Wild Animal Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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/ Jevrosima Stevanovic
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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/ Vanja Krstic
  • Department of Equine, Small Аnimal, Poultry and Wild Animal Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Dajana Slijepcevic
  • Department of Equine, Small Аnimal, Poultry and Wild Animal Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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/ Uros Glavinic
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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/ Zoran Stanimirovic
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Bul. oslobodjenja 18, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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Published Online: 2016-03-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2016-0044


Equine piroplasmosis is significant tick-borne disease with wide distribution. The prevalence of equine piroplasmosis in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina is unknown. In aim to obtain a first insight into the prevalence we performed molecular epidemiological study which included 142 horses, on seven locations in these three countries. We first performed PCR for the detection of a 450bp long section of the 18S rRNA of piroplasma-specific region. For all positive samples we have done multiplex PCR for the species detection. Species determination was further confirmed by sequencing PCR products of 10 randomly selected Theileria equi and all Babesia caballi samples. The overall prevalence rates in analysed region for T. equi and B. caballi were 22.5% and 2.1%, respectively. Possible risk factors (such as location, age, sex and activity) associated with PCR positivity were evaluated. Marked differences were found in prevalence between geographic areas. There was no significant association between positivity and age group. T. equi was more prevalent in females and farming horses. This is the first report on the molecular survey of T. equi and B. caballi in central Balkan. Further prevalence studies on definitive host and vectors in this region are necessary.

Keywords: Equine piroplasmosis; horses; PCR; Serbia; Montenegro; Bosnia and Herzegovina


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About the article

Received: 2015-07-26

Revised: 2015-10-02

Accepted: 2015-12-01

Published Online: 2016-03-30

Published in Print: 2016-06-01

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, Volume 61, Issue 2, Pages 337–342, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2016-0044.

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