Four clinically healthy horses which were negative for antibodies to Ehrlichia phagocytophila, the agent of bovine ehrlichiosis, were infected experimentally with E phagocytophila-containing bovine leucocytes, administered intravenously. The horses were examined daily for four weeks, and blood samples were collected daily for cytological, haematological and biochemical examination and for a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). An indirect immunofluorescence test was used to determine when the horses seroconverted and the duration of positive titres. There were no abnormal clinical, haematological or biochemical findings in any of the four horses and all the PCRS yielded negative results. However, all the horses seroconverted with reciprocal titres of up to 1280, and the positive titres persisted for up to five months.
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