Babesiosis is a tick-borne protozoan disease affecting many mammalian species worldwide, caused by the intraerythrocytic multiplication of Babesia spp. The present study aimed to detect the presence of Babesia sp. in 13 American mink from Hokkaido, Japan. One of 13 animals was positive, as indicated by nested PCR targeting the 18S ribosomal RNA (SSU rDNA) and subunit 7 (eta) of the chaperonin-containing t-complex polypeptide 1 (CCT7) genes from species of Babesia and Theileria. Sequencing of the PCR product of SSU rDNA revealed 99% homology to the isolates of Babesia sp. SAP#131 found in raccoons in Hokkaido, whereas that of the CCT7 gene showed 80% homology to the isolates of Babesia gibsoni in dogs as determined by BLAST analysis. We refer to the cognate sequence as Babesia sp. NV-1. Phylogenetic analyses of SSU rDNA and CCT7 genes from Babesia sp. NV-1 revealed them to be most closely related to the Babesia sp. SAP#131 from a raccoon in Hokkaido and to canine B. gibsoni, respectively. Here, we provide the first molecular evidence of the Babesia sp. NV-1 parasite in feral American mink (Neovison vison) in Hokkaido, Japan.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2