First Detection of Anti-Besnoitia spp. Antibodies in Equids in Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Noa Berman, Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Amir Steinman, Avital Minderigiu, Elena Blinder, Monica Leszkowicz Mazuz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Besnoitia is a tissue cyst forming coccidia, which affects multiple host species worldwide. Equine besnoitiosis is characterized mainly by generalized skin lesions and cysts in the scleral conjunctiva. Recent reports revealed exposure to Besnoitia in equines in Europe and the United States. However, the exposure to Besnoitia spp. in the Israeli equine population was never investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the seroprevalence and associated risk factors for besnoitiosis in equids in Israel. A cross-sectional serosurvey was performed using serum samples of apparently healthy horses (n = 347), donkeys (n = 98), and mules (n = 6), and exposure to Besnoitia spp. was determined by an immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT). Anti-Besnoitia spp. antibodies were detected in 17.7% equids, 6.9% horses, 33.3% mules, and 55.1% donkeys. The seroprevalence in donkeys was significantly higher than in horses (p < 0.001). A significant association between the geographic location and seropositivity was found both in horses and donkeys, which was significantly higher (p = 0.004) in horses sampled in southern Israel, and donkeys sampled in Israel versus the Palestinian Authority (p < 0.001). This is the first serosurvey of Besnoitia infection in equines in Israel, and the results are consistent with reports from Europe. The clinical significance of equine besnoitiosis should be further investigated.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number929
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Besnoitia benneti
  • IFAT
  • Israel
  • donkeys
  • horses
  • serology


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