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Keywords:

  • B. divergens;
  • human babesiosis;
  • small subunit ribosomal RNA gene;
  • intervening transcribed spacer;
  • eastern cottontail rabbit

Abstract: The causative agent of human babesiosis in a Kentucky case, which was first identified asBabesia divergens, is identical to a parasite of eastern cottontail rabbits on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts based on piroplasm size, morphology, and ribosomal RNA sequence analysis. Studies showing differential infectivity for cattle, host erythrocyte specificityin vitro, parasite size and morphologyin vitro, and ribosomal RNA sequences clearly demonstrate that the parasite from the rabbit (conspecific with the human Kentucky agent) is not the same organism as B. divergens.