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Establishing Continuous Cultures of a Tick-Transmitted Parasite

Cytauxzoon felis is a tick-transmitted parasite that causes rapid and frequently fatal disease in domestic cats. Bobcats are natural hosts, so they do not get sick from the parasite, but they can carry the infection, which is then transmitted by ticks to domestic cats. Diagnostic and treatment options are limited, and there is no vaccine to protect pets against this deadly parasite. in order to obtain parasites for research, at the present time experimentally infected or naturally infected cats must be used. researchers will determine the optimal conditions needed to establish and maintain continuous in vitro cultures of C. felis blood-stage parasites. if successful, the availability of continuous cultures would help facilitate more studies on C. felis and help researchers find ways to prevent and cure this deadly disease.

Dr. Patricia J. Holman, Texas A&M University