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BABESIOSIS is a haemoparasitosis of domestic and wild animals that can cause severe economic losses in the tropical and subtropical areas (Mohamed and Yagoub 1990, Yeruham and others 1995, Theodoropoulos and others 2006). In addition, this haemoparasitosis is considered important for public health, because some species can infect human beings (Duh and others 2001, Kim and others 2007).
In sheep, the disease can present as an acute haemolytic crisis or as chronic wasting (Rashid and others 2010). Babesia ovis, Babesia motasi and Babesia crassa are considered the possible causes of ovine babesiosis (Ferrer and others 1998). In Greece, the most common isolates of Babesia species are B ovis, though only few studies have been conducted in this field (Papadopoulos and others 1996, Theodoropoulos and others 2006). Babesia lengau species nov. has been recently isolated from asymptomatic cheetahs in Africa and has not been proven to cause disease in any animal species or human beings. In the present study, the detection of a B lengau-like organism in sheep with haemolytic disease is described.
In two sheep flocks located in a village of Northern Greece and reared under the semi-intensive feeding system, mortality was observed in adult sheep that according to their owners ‘were anorectic and urinated blood’. At the first visit of the veterinarian, five sheep had died from the one flock and three from the other. The postmortem examination conducted by a local veterinarian showed lesions typical of haemolytic crisis with jaundice, gun-metal coloured kidneys and discoloured liver. A liver sample from one dead sheep from each flock was examined for copper concentration; results were within normal limits (250 ppm dm and …