Equine piroplasmosis,
Ireland
Information received on 05/04/2019 from Dr Martin Blake, Chief Veterinary Officer, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Agriculture House, Dublin, Ireland
Summary
Report type Immediate notification (Final report)
Date of start of the event 16/02/2019
Date of confirmation of the event 27/02/2019
Report date 05/04/2019
Date submitted to OIE 05/04/2019
Date event resolved 01/03/2019
Reason for notification Recurrence of a listed disease
Date of previous occurrence 09/12/2009
Manifestation of disease Clinical disease
Causal agent Babesia caballi
Nature of diagnosis Clinical, Laboratory (advanced), Necropsy
This event pertains to the whole country
New outbreaks (1)
Outbreak 1 Co Kilkenny, Kilkenny
Date of start of the outbreak 16/02/2019
Outbreak status Resolved (01/03/2019)
Epidemiological unit Other
Affected animals
Species Susceptible Cases Deaths Killed and disposed of Slaughtered
Equidae 14 2 1 0 0
Affected population The mare in question foaled (one day before due date) on the 16th of February. The foal was born with premature detachment of the placenta (red bag presentation) and died within three minutes of birth. On the 17th of February the foal was submitted to a private laboratory for post mortem examination. Tissue samples taken from the foal tested PCR positive for Babesia caballi on the 17th of February. Further retrospective testing of two separate blood samples taken for other reasons from the mare that had been taken on the 5th of February and 19th of February confirmed ELISA and PCR positive for Babesia caballi. The conclusion of the post mortem examination and test results showed lesions consistent with a degree of placental insufficiency, a red bag presentation and infection of the foal with Babesia caballi on the 27th of February 2019.
Summary of outbreaks Total outbreaks: 1
Total animals affected
Species Susceptible Cases Deaths Killed and disposed of Slaughtered
Equidae 14 2 1 0 0
Outbreak statistics
Species Apparent morbidity rate Apparent mortality rate Apparent case fatality rate Proportion susceptible animals lost*
Equidae 14.29% 7.14% 50.00% 7.14%
*Removed from the susceptible population through death, destruction and/or slaughter
Epidemiology
Source of the outbreak(s) or origin of infection
  • Introduction of new live animals
  • Legal movement of animals
Epidemiological comments Following diagnosis, the competent authorities undertook a comprehensive epidemiological investigation. The mare was imported to Ireland from another European country on the 18th of January 2019. She was brought to premises in Co. Kildare. She was accommodated at the Kildare premises with three other mares. On the 24th of January she displayed clinical signs including pyrexia and limb oedema and was removed from the paddock and placed into isolation. She was attended to by a private veterinary practitioner. She remained in isolation from 24th to 31st of January. Following a positive response to treatment she was returned to the paddock on the Kildare premises on the 1st of February with the three aforementioned mares. On the 14th of February the mare was transferred to a premises in Co Kilkenny for foaling where she was housed in a single stable in an open barn with six other mares. In order to rule out any spread of the Babesia caballi organism from the mare or her foal to any other susceptible animals while resident in Ireland, the competent authorities identified all other equidae that may have contact with the mare. Four mares travelled with the affected mare on her original journey to Ireland. These were traced and examined for any clinical evidence of infection with Babesia caballi by an official veterinarian from the Irish competent authority. Samples were taken from each of the mares, allowing sufficient time to ensure that the incubation period of Babesia caballi had elapsed. These samples were tested at Irelandís Central Veterinary Research Laboratory and all returned negative results following PCR and ELISA testing for both Babesia caballi and Theileria equi between the 13th and 14th of March 2019. In addition, the 8 mares that may have had contact with the affected mare in both the Kildare and Kilkenny premises were also examined by an official veterinarian. Samples were taken from these mares, again allowing sufficient time to ensure that the incubation period of Babesia caballi had elapsed, all of which returned negative results following PCR and ELISA testing for both Babesia caballi and Theileria equi between the 13th of March and the 2nd of April 2019. Therefore, the investigation did not reveal any evidence of disease spread in the susceptible population as a result of Babesia caballi infection in a single imported equine animal. The mare was transported back to the country of origin on the 1st of March 2019.
Control measures
Measures applied
  • Disinfection
  • Quarantine
  • Traceability
  • Screening
  • Vaccination permitted (if a vaccine exists)
  • Treatment of affected animals (Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatment of the affected mare)
Measures to be applied
  • No other measures
Diagnostic test results
Laboratory name and type Species Test Test date Result
Irish Equine Centre (Private Laboratory) Equidae enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) 27/02/2019 Positive
Irish Equine Centre (Private Laboratory) Equidae polymerase chain reaction (PCR) 27/02/2019 Positive
Future Reporting
The event is resolved. No more reports will be submitted.
Map of outbreak locations