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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Questionnaire-based survey on distribution and clinical incidence of canine babesiosis in France

Lénaïg Halos1*, Isabelle Lebert2, Isabelle Chao3, Gwenaël Vourc’h2, Christian Ducrot2, David Abrial2, Jean-François Ravier1 and Jacques Guillot3

Author Affiliations

1 Merial, 29 avenue Tony Garnier, 69007, Lyon, France

2 INRA, UR346, F-63122, Saint-Genès Champanelle, France

3 BIPAR, UMR ENVA, ANSES, UPEC, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, UPE, 94704, Maisons-Alfort, France

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:41  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-41

Published: 28 February 2013



The causative agent of canine babesiosis is the protozoan Babesia canis, transmitted by the tick Dermacentor reticulatus within France. While the parasite can be found everywhere in France however cases of infection are associated with distinct geographical foci. The aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical occurrence of canine babesiosis diagnosed in veterinary clinics in order to propose an updated map of the disease distribution in France.


Questionnaires were sent via email to all canine veterinary clinics in continental France. Information collected included the number of babesiosis cases diagnosed in 2010, the number of veterinary practitioners and the location of the clinic. The total number of dogs and practitioners per administrative department were used to define the reference population. The annual incidence rate of canine babesiosis per department was calculated as the ratio between the number of babesiosis cases reported by the clinics and the total number of dogs in the clinics of the same department. Data were geo-referenced for map construction (Quantum GIS version 1.7.4). The overall annual incidence rate of clinical babesiosis among the surveyed population was 1.07% (CI95 1.05-1.09) with geographical variations between departments, ranging from 0.01% to 16.05%. Four enzootic areas were identified: South-West, Center, East and Paris area. The South-West region should be considered as a hyper-enzootic area with the higher incidence rates.


Our results confirmed the burden of canine babesiosis in France. In the context of tick-borne disease emergence in Europe, the risk for canine babesiosis may become more significant in other European countries in the coming years.

Babesia canis; Canine babesiosis; Incidence rates; Geographic distribution; France