Sera from 111 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) and 95 mule deer (Odocoileus hem-ionus) were tested using an indirect immunofluorescence assay for antibodies to two isolates of Babesia spp. recently obtained from these hosts in California (USA). The study populations were from six locations: three areas of real or potential sympatry of bighorn sheep and deer, one area with deer only, and two areas with bighorn sheep only. Antibody titers from seroreactive individuals were similar with both babesial isolate antigens (P < 0.05), and seroprevalence was highest in the areas of host sympatry. A moderate to high seroprevalence (≥ 30%) in some of the study populations was evidence that babesial parasites may be common in bighorn sheep and mule deer in some areas of California.
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Vol. 31 • No. 4