Serological evidence of Ehrlichia minasensis infection in Brazilian dogs

Andréia Lima Tomé Melo, Tian Luo, Xiaofeng Zhang, Lívia Saab Muraro, Nathalia Assis Pereira, Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz, Filipe Dantas-Torres, Jere W. McBride, Daniel Moura de Aguiar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ehrlichia spp. are important tick-borne pathogens of animals in Brazil, and Ehrlichia canis is the most prevalent species infecting dogs. Moreover, Ehrlichia minasensis has also recently been identified as a novel ehrlichial agent that infects cattle in Brazil. The objective of this study was to determine whether dogs could be infected by E. minasensis. To investigate this possibility, sera (n = 429) collected from dogs in the Pantanal region were retrospectively analyzed for the presence of antibodies against E. canis and E. minasensis. Canine sera were screened by two isolates of E. canis in indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and the majority (n = 298; 69.4%) had antibodies with endpoint titers ranging from 80 to 327,680. In order to further confirm E. canis-specific antibodies, IFA positive sera were analyzed by ELISA using E. canis-specific peptides (i.e. TRP19 and TRP36 US/BR/CR), which detected E. canis antibodies in 80.2% (239/298) of the dog sera. Fifty-nine (13.7%) samples had detectable antibodies to E. canis by IFA but were negative by E. canis peptide ELISA. These sera were then tested by E. minasensis IFA (Cuiaba strain) as antigen and 67.8% (40/59) were positive (titers ranging from 80 to 20,480). Eleven sera had antibody titers against E. minasensis at least two-fold higher than observed for E. canis and suggests that these dogs were previously infected with E. minasensis. The results of the present study suggest that multiple ehrlichial agents infect dogs in Brazil, which highlights the need to consider different Ehrlichia spp. in Brazilian dogs, particularly in areas where dogs are frequently exposed to multiple tick species. This investigation is the first to provide serologic evidence of E. minasensis infection in dogs from Brazil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105931
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Brazil
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • IFA
  • canine
  • serology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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