Ehrlichia equi infection of horses from Minnesota and Wisconsin: Detection of seroconversion and acute disease investigation

Patricia M. Bullock, Trevor R. Ames, Robert A. Robinson, Barbara Greig, Martha A. Mellencamp, J. Steven Dumler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Equine granulocytic ehrlichiosis (EGE) is caused by infection with Ehrlichia equi. EGE has been reported primarily in northern California, where E equi is transmitted by the tick Ixodes pacificus. Reports of EGE and the emergence of human granulocytic ehrlichia in Minnesota prompted a seroprevalence study of E equi in horses of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tick (Ixodes scapularis) endemic areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin were compared to nonendemic regions of Minnesota. Indirect fluorescent antibody was used to detect the presence of serum antibodies to E equi. Serum samples from healthy horses, 375 samples from I scapularis endemic counties, and 366 samples from nonendemic counties were screened at a 1:40 dilution. Results demonstrated a seroprevalence of 17.6% in endemic areas versus 3.8% in nonendemic areas. Ehrlichial DNA from 2 samples was successfully amplified by polymerase chain reaction and 919 base pairs were sequenced. The DNA sequence of 1 Minnesota/Wisconsin strain differed from the GenBank strain (M73223) of E equi at positions 84 and 886 and from the MRK strain of E equi at position 84, and was identical to the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) agent. The 2nd Minnesota/Wisconsin strain was identical to the 1st with the exception of a substitution of "A" at position 453 that is not present in E phagocytophila, E equi, or HGE agent strain sequences. Based on the results of this study, we concluded that E equi is present and causes infection in horses in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The occurrence of infection is higher in tick endemic regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-257
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine / American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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