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Possible death of a buffalo calf (Syncercus caffer) due to suspected heartwater (Ehrlichia ruminantium) : clinical communication

S. Pfitzer, R. Last, D.T. De Waal
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 75, No 1 | a451 | DOI: | © 2004 S. Pfitzer, R. Last, D.T. De Waal | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2004 | Published: 18 June 2004

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S. Pfitzer,
R. Last,
D.T. De Waal,

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Rickettsial organisms resembling Ehrlichia ruminantium (the causative organism of heartwater) were demonstrated in brain smears and formalin-fixed brain sections derived from a buffalo calf that died on a private game reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The possibility that the tick-free environment of a quarantine boma may have affected the calf 's immunity, is discussed. These findings suggest that monitoring heartwater in wild ruminants and making brain smears as a routine during post mortem evaluations of wild ruminants, should be encouraged.


Buffalo; Cowdria Ruminantium; Cowdriosis; Ehrlichia Ruminantium; Heartwater; South Africa


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