Serological cross-reactivity between Anaplasma marginale and an Ehrlichia species in naturally and experimentally infected cattle

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2011 Nov;23(6):1181-8. doi: 10.1177/1040638711425593.


Seroconversion and cross-reactivity in cattle infected with Anaplasma marginale or a recently described Ehrlichia species (BOV2010 from British Columbia, Canada) were investigated. The study used 76 samples from 20 animals, a commercially available competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) for bovine anaplasmosis, and an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). Blood smear examination and/or polymerase chain reaction assay were performed to confirm or rule out the presence of Anaplasma or Ehrlichia. Samples comprised 3 groups. Group 1 consisted of 24 samples from 9 cattle naturally infected with Ehrlichia sp. BOV2010. Group 2 had 13 samples from 3 A. marginale-infected cattle from Manitoba, Canada. Group 3 had 39 samples, consisting of 26 from 5 calves experimentally infected with Ehrlichia sp. BOV2010, 10 from 2 calves experimentally infected with A. marginale from cattle (Manitoba) or bison (Saskatchewan), and 3 from an uninfected calf. All samples from cattle naturally or experimentally infected with Ehrlichia sp. BOV2010 or A. marginale were seropositive for A. marginale by both cELISA and IFAT, except 3 calves euthanized at 28 and 33 days post-inoculation (DPI) that did not seroconvert. Antibodies were detected in 2 experimental animals inoculated with Ehrlichia sp. BOV2010, as early as 28 and 33 DPI by the cELISA and IFAT, respectively, and by 42 DPI for both tests. The current study demonstrates that the specificity of the recombinant major surface protein 5 (MSP5) antigen is not restricted to Anaplasma spp., which reduces the utility of the test for serological diagnosis of bovine anaplasmosis in regions where Ehrlichia sp. BOV2010-infected cattle might exist.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasma marginale / immunology*
  • Anaplasmosis / blood
  • Anaplasmosis / diagnosis*
  • Anaplasmosis / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cattle Diseases / immunology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Ehrlichia / immunology*
  • Ehrlichiosis / blood
  • Ehrlichiosis / diagnosis
  • Ehrlichiosis / immunology
  • Ehrlichiosis / veterinary*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary
  • Serologic Tests / veterinary*
  • Splenectomy