Original Research

Seroprevalence of Rhodococcus equi in horses in Israel

Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Sevil E. Gürbilek, Osman Y. Tel, Oktay Keskin, Amir Steinman
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 88 | a1508 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v88i0.1508 | © 2017 Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Sevil E. Gürbilek, Osman Y. Tel, Oktay Keskin, Amir Steinman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 February 2017 | Published: 26 June 2017

About the author(s)

Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Sevil E. Gürbilek, Department of Microbiology, Harran University, Eyyubiye Campus, Turkey
Osman Y. Tel, Department of Microbiology, Harran University, Eyyubiye Campus, Turkey
Oktay Keskin, Department of Microbiology, Harran University, Eyyubiye Campus, Turkey
Amir Steinman, Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


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Abstract

Rhodococcus equi is a common cause of pneumonia in foals and has extensive clinical, economic and possibly zoonotic consequences. This bacterium survives well in the environment and may be considered as normal flora of adult horses. Certain strains of this bacterium are extremely virulent in foals, and early identification and intervention is crucial for prognosis. Rhodococcus equi is endemic in many parts of the world and occasionally isolated in Israel. This study was designed to evaluate R. equi seroprevalence in adult horses in Israel to indirectly indicate the potential level of exposure of susceptible foals. Sera were collected from 144 horses during spring 2011 and from 293 horses during fall 2014, and the presence of antibodies against virulent R. equi was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Equine seroprevalence of R. equi was found to be 7.6% in 2011 and 5.1% in 2014. Only one farm had seropositive horses in 2011, whereas several farms had seropositive horses in 2014. No significant risk factors for seropositivity were found. Rhodococcus equi appears to be endemic in Israel. This is the first survey of R. equi in Israel that provides information on the epidemiology of this important bacterium.

Keywords

rhodococcus equi; ELISA; horse

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