Equine piroplasmosis caused by Theileria equi and Babesia caballi is an economically important disease with a worldwide distribution. The objective of the present study was to investigate the seroepidemiology of T. equi and B. caballi in horses reared in various Mongolian provinces. Serum samples prepared from blood collected from horses in 19 Mongolian provinces were screened for antibodies specific to T. equi and B. caballi using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays based on recombinant forms of T. equi merozoite antigen-2 and the B. caballi 48-kDa merozoite rhoptry protein, respectively. Of 1,282 horses analyzed, 423 (33%) and 182 (14.2%) were sero-positive for T. equi and B. caballi, respectively. Additionally, 518 (40.4%) were positive for at least 1 parasite species, of which 87 (16.8%) were co-infected with both parasites. Both T. equi and B. caballi were detected in all surveyed provinces, and on a per province basis the positive rates ranged from 19.0 to 74.2% and 4.5 to 39.8%, respectively. Theileria equi- and B. caballi-positive rates were comparable between male horses (31.9 and 14.1%, respectively) and female horses (34.5 and 14.3%, respectively). However, the positive rates were higher in the >3-yr-old age group (37.7 and 15.6%, respectively) compared with the 1–3-yr-old age group (19.4 and 10.0%, respectively). These findings confirmed that T. equi and B. caballi infections are widespread among horses all over Mongolia, and that horse age is a risk factor for infection in this country. Our results will be useful for designing appropriate control measures to minimize T. equi and B. caballi infections among Mongolian horses.
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Vol. 105 • No. 4