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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

versão On-line ISSN 2224-9435
versão impressa ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.80 no.4 Pretoria  2009




Heartwater: An abridged historical account



J D Bezuidenhout

aRetired. Formerly of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. Present address: PO Box 33, Swartwater, 0622, South Africa. E-mail:




Heartwater was first recognised and recorded in South Africa as early as 1838. Since then the disease has been described from almost all the countries in Africa south of the Sahara, from certain islands around Africa and from a number of islands in the Caribbean. Most of the research on the disease, at least until fairly recently, was conducted in South Africa. Progress in research on the disease has been slow but a few important findings are highlighted in this paper.

Keywords: Cowdriosis, Ehrlichia ruminantium, heartwater, history of veterinary diseases, tick-borne diseases



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1. Allsopp B A, Bezuidenhout J D, Prozesky L 2005 Heartwater. In Coetzer J A W & Tustin R C (eds) Infectious diseases of livestock, Vol. 1, (2nd edn). Oxford University Press, Cape Town: 507-535        [ Links ]

2. Bezuidenhout J D, Paterson C, Barnard B J H 1985 In vitro cultivation of Cowdria ruminantium. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 52: 113-120        [ Links ]

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4. Collins N E, Pretorius A, van Kleef M, Brayton K A, Allsopp M T, Zweygarth E, Allsopp B A, Brown F, Roth J A 2003 Development of improved attenuated and nucleic acid vaccines for heartwater. Vaccines for OIE list A and emerging animal diseases. Proceedings of a symposium, Ames, Iowa, USA, 16-18 September 2002: 121-136        [ Links ]

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7. Du Plessis J L, Ku[umlaut]mm N A L 1971 The passage of Cowdria ruminantium in mice. Journal of the South African Veterinary Medical Association 42: 217-221

8. Hutcheon D 1900 History of heartwater. Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope 17: 410-417        [ Links ]

9. Lounsbury C P 1900 Tick heartwater experiments. Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope 16: 682-687        [ Links ]

10. Neitz W O 1940 Uleron in the treatment of heartwater. Journal of the South African Veterinary Medical Association 11: 15        [ Links ]

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12. Provost A, Bezuidenhout J D 1987 The historical background and global importance of heartwater. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 54: 165-169        [ Links ]



Received: October 2009
Accepted: December 2009



* The information is drawn freely from a previous article by Provost and Bezuidenhout referred to in the text12.

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