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Epidemiological Survey of Equine Pythiosis in the Brazilian Pantanal and Nearby Areas: Results of 76 Cases

dos Santos, Carlos E.P., Ubiali, Daniel G., Pescador, Caroline A., Zanette, Régis A., Santurio, Janio M., Marques, Luiz C.
Journal of equine veterinary science 2014 v.34 no.2 pp. 270-274
Pythium insidiosum, antibody detection, cerrado, color, disease prevalence, drought, ecosystems, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, epidemiological studies, hematophagous insects, hematophagy, histopathology, horses, immunotherapy, mortality, polymerase chain reaction, wet season, Pantanal
A clinical epidemiological study was conducted among 34 rural properties located within the Brazilian Pantanal region and nearby areas between 2007 and 2010. The diagnosis of equine pythiosis was based on antibody detection (by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), polymerase chain reaction, histopathological analysis, and cultures positive for Pythium insidiosum. The majority of the affected animals (85%) were in the Pantanal biome, which had a higher disease prevalence (0.9%-66.7%) than that of the Cerrado (2.7%-33.3%). The disease was more prevalent in the rainy season (January-March), with an abrupt fall in the number of cases during the drought period (April–September; correlation of R2 = 0.77; P < .01). Generally, the average prevalence of equine pythiosis in both regions was 5%, with mortality and lethality rates of 1.3% and 23.1%, respectively, in the Pantanal and 2.3% and 45.5%, respectively, in the Cerrado. However, the treatment with immunotherapy may have underestimated these numbers, especially in the Pantanal. Animals older than 1 year were 8.09 times more affected by the disease than younger animals in the same environment (P < .05). A correlation between the anatomical area of the lesion and the type of skin color was also observed. Approximately 73% of the lesions were found in dark-pigmented areas, and animals with a dark coat color were affected more frequently. These findings highlight the importance of hematophagous insects in the epidemiology of pythiosis because these areas are preferred for blood feeding.