USDA Instituting New Blood Test for Equine Piroplasmosis

Effective Feb. 1, 2004, the USDA will institute a new blood test for determining the equine piroplasmosis status of horses upon entry into the United States.

The competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CELISA) is more sensitive than the Complement Fixation test (CFT), which is currently used to test for piroplasmosis. The CELISA has a greater chance of identifying chronically infected horses with piroplasmosis. Testing for piroplasmosis is conducted on all horses imported into the United States with the exception of horses from Canada and Iceland.

USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) has spent two years validating the CELISA, which was developed by the USDA Agriculture Research Service.

As of Jan. 1, 2004, USDA was to perform, upon request, the CELISA on pre-entry sera from horses due to be shipped after Feb. 1.  Use of the pre-import test is recommended. Horses found to be positive for piroplasmosis are not permitted entry into the United States.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Freeda Isaac, APHIS, VS, National Center for Import and Export, 301/734-8364.

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