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Neospora caninum is a tissue-cyst forming parasite that has been recognized worldwide as a cause of abortion in cattle. Despite the ubiquitous distribution of this parasite and its broad range of hosts, the number of N. caninum isolates obtained to date is limited. In addition, the majority of isolates have been obtained from clinically affected hosts, therefore potentially biasing this population towards more virulent isolates. This report describes the isolation and biological characterisation of a new N. caninum isolate, Nc-Goiás 1, obtained from an asymptomatic, naturally infected calf from Brazil. This new isolate was identified as a member of the N. caninum species by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using specific primers based on the N. caninum internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS-1) sequence, and was genetically identified at multiple loci using microsatellite analysis. Finally, a pathogenicity study was conducted in a BALB/c mice model. All Nc-Goiás 1-infected mice survived without exhibiting any clinical signs. Further pathogenic characterisation of this isolate suggested that Nc-Goiás 1 is less virulent than other N. caninum isolates (Nc-Liv and Nc-1) studied in this mouse model. This is the first report of the isolation and biological characterisation of N. caninum from an infected but clinically healthy calf in South America.
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