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Isolation of the causative agent of heartwater (Cowdria ruminantium) from three Amblyomma species in eight Districts of Kenya
  1. P. N. Ngumi, BVM, MSc1,
  2. R. M. Rumberia, BVM, MSc, PhD1,
  3. S. M. Williamson, PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS2,
  4. K. J. Sumption, PhD, MA, VetMB, MRCVS2,
  5. A. C. Lesan, BVM, MSc1 and
  6. D. P. Kariuki, BVSc, MSc, PhD1
  1. 1 National Veterinary Research Centre, Box 32, Kikuyu, Kenya
  2. 2 Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG


Thirteen isolates of Cowdria ruminantium were made from eight different Districts of Kenya by four different isolation methods. Feeding adult Amblyomma species ticks derived from nymphs collected in the field and the inoculation of homogenates prepared from adult field ticks had the highest success rate. The reattachment of adult ticks collected in the field was successful on only one of five attempts, and the subinoculation of blood from suspected heartwater carriers was unsuccessful. Seven of the isolates were derived from A variegatum ticks, four from A gemma, one from A lepidum and one from a mixed pool of the last two species. This is the first report of the isolation of C ruminantium from A gemma ticks, and the first report of its transtadial transmission from nymphal to adult A gemma.

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