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Prevalence and control of babesiosis in the Americas.

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Abstract

This review presents up-to-date information on the distribution and control measures of babesiosis in Latin America. Bovine babesiosis caused by Babesia bovis and B. bigemia will be emphasized. The
disease is endemic in most countries and poses a serious economic burden on livestock production in the region (U.S. $1365 million/year, FAO, 1989). Of the estimated 250 million cattle in Central and South America, approximately 175 million (70%) are in tick-infested regions. Humid, tropical and subtropical areas favor development of the main vector, the one-host tick Boophilus microplus. In many regions bovine babesiosis is enzootically stable as a consequence of a balanced host-parasite relationship. However, Latin America offers a wide range of epidemiologic conditions that are influenced by variations from tropical to cool climates and by susceptible purebred cattle that are regularly imported to upgrade local stocks. The control measures employed in most countries for babesiosis essentially rely on chemotherapy, use of acaricides for B. microplus, and to a lesser degree, on immunization methods. In general, these measures are expensive, time consuming, and in many cases, provide limited success. Finally, the zoonotic potential of babesiosis will be addressed, with special emphasis on the situation in the United States. Even though bovine babesiosis has long been eradicated from the U.S.A., human babesiosis is endemic in the northeastern region of the country.

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1992;87 Suppl 3:27-36. Review

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