Babesia

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Babesia

[bə′bezh·ə]
(invertebrate zoology)
The type genus of the Babesiidae, a protozoan family containing red blood cell parasites.

Babesia

 

(or Piroplasma), a genus of protozoa of the order Piroplasmidae, class Sarcodina. The name was given in 1893 in honor of the Rumanian scholar V. Babe§, who first discovered the parasites in 1888 in the blood of cattle.

Some authors divide the genus Babesia into four genera or subgenera (Piroplasma. Nuttallla, Babesiella, and Franca-iella). Babesias are blood parasites of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and dogs. They cause a serious disease, babesiasis. In the erythrocytes of mammals babesias multiply asexually, with each one dividing into two or four organisms. Babesias are transmitted by ticks, in whom they reproduce asexually in the intestinal tract or in the intracellular spaces. In this situation forms of babesias can orginate in the ovule of the tick and remain there multiplying asexually. From such infected tick eggs come larvae with babesias in all their organs and salivary glands. When a tick sucks the blood of a vertebrate animal, babesias are transmitted to that organism and they then become lodged in the erythrocytes. In the USSR there are ten species; the main ones are B. bigemina (Piro-plasma bigeminum), B. bovis (Piroplasma bovis, Babesiella bovis), and B. ovis (Piroplasma ovis, Babesiella ovis).

REFERENCES

Dogel’, V. A., Iu. 1. Polianskii, and E. M. Kheisin. Obshchaia
protozoologiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
Levine, N. D. Protozoan Parasites of Domestic Animals and of Man. Minneapolis, 1961.

O. I. CHIBISOVA