Identity of the causal agents of human babesiosis in Europe

  • Gray J
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Abstract

Most cases of human babesiosis are caused either by Babesia divergens in Europe or Babesia microti in America. B. microti, once regarded as a single species, occurs as a world-wide species complex and although both phenotypic and genotypic features lend support to suggestions that zoonotic B. microti may occur in Europe, convincing medical evidence is lacking. Several B. divergens-like parasites have emerged in the last few years, but 18S rRNA gene analysis suggests that B. divergens 'sensu stricto' is restricted to European (and North African) cattle. Some of the B. divergens-like parasites only differ from the bovine type by a few bases, and it remains to be determined whether this is sufficient to accord them separate species status. Comparative biology should support genetic data in taxonomic studies of both B. divergens and B. microti. © 2006 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 18s rRNA gene analysis
  • Babesia divergens
  • Babesia microti

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