Survey of Babesia microti infection in field rodents in Japan: records of the Kobe-type in new foci and findings of a new type related to the Otsu-type

Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(1):15-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2007.tb03886.x.


Of 247 rodents comprising 5 genera and 7 species collected at 17 sites throughout Japan from 2003 to 2005, Babesia microti was detected microscopically and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 36 rodents comprising 2 genera and 3 species from 12 sites. Based on the analysis of small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSUrDNA) sequences, the Kobe-type, the etiological type of the first Japanese case of human infection was found in Apodemus speciosus and Apodemus argenteus in Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of the Japanese mainland, while the U.S.-type was found on Hokkaido Island and the Otsu-type was widely distributed. In addition, a new Otsu-related type was detected exclusively in Eothenomys andersoni in Nagano, a prefecture in central Japan. The sequences of internal transcribed spacer 1 to 2 (ITS1/2) of the present Kobe- and Otsu-types were almost identical to those of the same types previously identified. The ITS1/2 sequence of the U.S.-type identified in Hokkaido in this survey was somewhat different from that of the U.S.-type strain originating from the U.S.A., with approximately 95% identity. This value was similar to the 94% identity found between the ITS1/2 sequences of the Otsu-type and the new Otsu-related type. The new Otsu-related type of B. microti was isolated as the Nagano strain, which was serologically differentiated from the other type strains of B. microti. The divergence and distribution of genotypes are important factors in investigating the epidemiology of human B. microti infection in Japan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Babesia microti / classification*
  • Babesia microti / genetics
  • Babesia microti / isolation & purification*
  • Babesiosis / epidemiology
  • Babesiosis / parasitology
  • Babesiosis / veterinary*
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA, Intergenic / analysis
  • DNA, Intergenic / chemistry
  • DNA, Intergenic / genetics
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • DNA, Protozoan / chemistry
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rodent Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rodent Diseases / parasitology
  • Rodentia
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Intergenic
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB242176
  • GENBANK/AB243677
  • GENBANK/AB243678
  • GENBANK/AB243679
  • GENBANK/AB243680