Neospora caninum, a coccidian parasite closely related to Toxoplasma gondii, is one of the major causes of abortion in cattle worldwide. Conventional serological techniques, such as the indirect fluorescent antibody test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), are routinely used in adult animals and aborted fetuses for the detection of anti–N. caninum antibodies. In Romania, infection with N. caninum in cattle has been reported recently, but only in limited areas from the north and central parts of the country. Therefore, the aim of this study was to obtain additional seroepidemiological data on infection with N. caninum on dairy farms from the south of Romania. A total of 258 blood samples was analyzed from 230 dairy cows and 28 calves from 9 dairy farms in southern Romania; the presence of specific IgG antibodies against N. caninum was determined using an indirect ELISA test. The average seroprevalence was 40.3%, but the within-herd prevalence ranged between 11.5 and 80.0%; the seroprevalence in dairy cows was 41.7%, while in calves it was 28.6%. Of the positive samples, 74.0% (77/104) had a high positive reaction (S/P ratio more than 1.0), while 26.0% (27/104) had a low positive reaction (S/P ratio between 0.5 and 1.0). This study indicates that N. caninum infection is widespread in the south of Romania, which could explain the causes of abortions registered in some herds in the studied area. However, a serological screening across the country is planned in order to assess the actual national prevalence of N. caninum infection, followed by implementation of a prevention and control program.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1