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Study Shows High Prevalence of Anemia-Causing Parasite in South American Camelids

Mycoplasma haemolamae is a bacterium that attaches to red blood cells and causes anemia in South American camelids. A recently developed blood test for diagnosing infection indicates that some infected animals do not show clinical signs of anemia.

Researchers from the University of Georgia used Morris Animal Foundation funding to study the prevalence of M. haemolamae infection within the camelid population in the southeastern United States. The data indicate that approximately 27 percent of the sample population tested positive for M. haemolamae. Of the 20 farms that were visited, 95 percent had at least one infected animal. Researchers identified that the rate of infection was higher in males than in females and higher in animals younger than six years of age.

Researchers also discovered a significant presence of preclinical anemia, indicating that more aggressive screening and treatment of animals that appear healthy on a physical exam may be warranted. Identification of the prevalence and risk factors of M. haemolamae will provide veterinarians and breeders with screening tools for better diagnosis and treatment of this infection.

This study was conducted by Dr. Alessandra Pellegrini-Masini at The University of Georgia.

Posted by MAFon July 17, 2012.

Categories: Animal health, Animal studies, Llama health


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