Regional Seroreactivity and Vector-Borne Disease Co-Exposures in Dogs in the United States from 2004–2010: Utility of Canine Surveillance

Yancey Caroline B., Hegarty Barbara C., Qurollo Barbara A., Levy Michael G., Birkenheuer Adam J., Weber David J., Diniz Pedro P.V.P., and Breitschwerdt Edward B.

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. October 2014, 14(10): 724-732. doi:10.1089/vbz.2014.1592.

Published in Volume: 14 Issue 10: October 17, 2014

Correspondence to: E-mail: cbyancey@hotmail.com


Vector-borne disease (VBD) pathogens remain an emerging health concern for animals and humans throughout the world. Surveillance studies of ticks and humans have made substantial contributions to our knowledge of VBD epidemiology trends, but long-term VBD surveillance data of dogs in the United States is limited.

This seroreactivity study assessed US temporal and regional trends and co-exposures to Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Borrelia burgdorferi, Dirofilaria immitis, Ehrlichia spp., and spotted fever group Rickettsia in dogs from 2004–2010. Dog serum samples (N=14,496) were submitted to the North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Vector Borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for vector-borne pathogens diagnostic testing using immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assays. These convenience samples were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed. The largest proportion of samples originated from the South (47.6%), with the highest percent of seroreactive samples observed in the Midatlantic (43.4%), compared to other US regions.

The overall seroreactivity of evaluated VBD antigens were Rickettsia rickettsia (10.4%), B. burgdorferi (5.2%), Ehrlichia spp. (4.3%), Bartonella henselae (3.8%), Anaplasma spp. (1.9%), Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii (1.5%), Babesia canis (1.1%), and D. immitis (0.8%). Significant regional and annual seroreactivity variation was observed with B. burgdorferi, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia exposures. Seasonal seroreactivity variation was evident with Rickettsia. Seroreactivity to more than one antigen was present in 16.5% of exposed dogs.

Nationally, the most prevalent co-exposure was Rickettsia with Ehrlichia spp. (5.3%), and the highest odds of co-exposure was associated with Anaplasma spp. and B. burgdorferi (odds ratio=6.6; 95% confidence interval 5.0, 8.8). Notable annual and regional seroreactivity variation was observed with certain pathogens over 7 years of study, suggesting canine surveillance studies may have value in contributing to future VBD knowledge.

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