Besnoitia bennetti

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Besnoitia bennetti
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): Sar
(unranked): Alveolata
Phylum: Apicomplexa
Class: Conoidasida
Subclass: Coccidiasina
Order: Eucoccidiorida
Family: Sarcocystidae
Subfamily: Toxoplasmatinae
Genus: Besnoitia
Species: B. bennetti
Binomial name
Besnoitia bennetti

Besnoitia bennetti is a parasite that can cause besnoitiosis infections in donkeys. The range of this organism ranges from Africa to the United States.[1][2] B. bennettii shares similar characteristics with Toxoplasma, Neospora, and Sarcocystis genera.[3] Lab work onB. bennetti is conducted at biosafety level 1.[4]


Besnoitia bennetti originated in Africa, causing besnoitiosis in donkeys and horses there.[2] Currently, the organism exists in Sudan, South Africa, France, the Pyrenees, Mexico, and the United States.[5] The first recorded infection of this species was documented in 1927 in Sudan. The species was believed to have spread from the Nuba Mountains.[5][4] The first documented case in the United States occurred in 1957, when the species was found in the skin of burros.[5]


The instance of this species in a medical journal was in 1927, in an article written by S.C.J. Bennett.[6] In an expedition to Sudan, Bennett found four horses that had developed cysts consistent with what was eventually called besnoitiosis. Bennett at first mistakenly believed that the infection he found was caused by species of Sarcocystis or Globidium and that the organism infected cattle in addition to horses. In 1932, the species was placed into the Besnoitia genus by Babudieri. The first instance of an infection in South Africa appeared in a medical journal in 1955. B. bennetti was discovered in the United States in 1973 in an experimental herd of Mexican burros.[6]


In infected donkeys, B. bennetti formed cysts in the eyes, mouth, and testes.[1][2] The mode of transmission among donkeys has not been determined. Treatments with ponazuril, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and nitroxinide have been unable to clear infection.[1]

While B. bennetti has only been found to infect donkeys, it has experimentally been shown not to infect mice, rats, gerbils, or cats.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Bowman, Dwight D (2014-03-12). Georgis' Parasitology for Veterinarians. p. 109. ISBN 9781455739882. 
  2. ^ a b c Ness; Schares; Peters-Kennedy; Mittel; Dubey; Bowman; Mohammed; Divers (2014). "Serological diagnosis of Besnoitia bennetti infection in donkeys (Equus asinus)". Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 26: 778–782. doi:10.1177/1040638714550180. PMID 25227418 – via PubMed. 
  3. ^ SallyAnne L Ness (2016). "Besnoitiosis in Donkeys". American Association of Equine Practitioners. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  4. ^ a b JP Dubey. "Besnoitia bennetti (Bennett, 1927) Babudieri, 1932". American Type Culture Collection. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c "Besnoitia Bennetti". Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Dubey, J.P.; Sreekumar, C.; Donovan, T.; Rozmanec, M.; Rosenthal, B.M.; Vianna, M.C.B.; Davis, W.P.; Belden, J.S. (2005). "Redescription of Besnoitia bennetti (Protozoa: Apicomplexa) from the donkey (Equus asinus)". International Journal for Parasitology. 35 (6): 659–72. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2005.01.004. PMID 15862579.