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Concomitant infection of cattle with the vaccine strain Anaplasma marginale ss centrale and field strains of A. marginale

Shkap, Varda, Leibovitz, B., Krigel, Y., Molad, T., Fish, L., Mazuz, M., Fleiderovitz, L., Savitsky, I.
Veterinary microbiology 2008 v.130 no.3-4 pp. 277-284
bovine anaplasmosis, mixed infection, strains, pathotypes, Anaplasma marginale, live vaccines, Anaplasma centrale, risk assessment, epidemiological studies, calves, vaccination, protective effect, disease detection, molecular epidemiology, pathogen identification, molecular genetics
Bovine anaplasmosis, caused by Anaplasma marginale, the intraerythrocytic rickettsia, is controlled by vaccination with live Anaplasma marginale ss centrale (A. centrale), a subspecies of relatively low pathogenicity. We have experimentally demonstrated that an animal primarily infected with A. marginale, or with the related vaccine subspecies A. centrale can be infected with the heterologous subspecies, and carries both bacteria. The co-infection was detected in experimentally cross-infected calves for up to 3 months after the last inoculation with the heterologous subspecies. The occurrence of characteristic cyclic rickettsemia of A. centrale and A. marginale was observed by examination of Giemsa-stained blood smears, or by the presence of specific rickettsial DNA confirmed in PCR assays based on specific msp1a and msp4 for A. marginale, and on specifically designed msp3 and msp4 primers for A. centrale. Sequence analysis of msp4-specific fragments for each subspecies revealed the presence of dual infection in both calves on days 30 and 60 after cross-inoculation with the heterologous Anaplasma subspecies. The experimental cross-infection of calves clearly demonstrated that the concept of “infection exclusion” does not apply to Anaplasma infection in cattle; as there was no infection exclusion of A. marginale in A. centrale-infected cattle, and vice versa. The present results confirmed our previous findings that cattle grazing in an anaplasmosis-endemic field were subject to concomitant infection with both the vaccine A. centrale and the field A. marginale strains.