Theileria parva genetic diversity and haemoparasite prevalence in cattle and wildlife in and around Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
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Wildlife, especially Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), are thought to act as a reservoir for many of the important tick-borne pathogens of cattle. In this study, we have determined the prevalence of the most significant tick-borne haemoparasites in wildlife (buffalo, impala, eland and bushbuck) as well as in cattle grazing inside and neighbouring Lake Mburo National Park (LMNP) in Uganda. A high percentage of buffalo were carriers of Theileria parva, Theileria mutans, Theileria velifera, Theileria buffeli and Theileria sp. (buffalo) as well as Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma centrale. The majority of impala sampled were carriers of A. centrale, and all were carriers of an unidentified Babesia/Theileria species. The eland and bushbuck sampled were all carriers of Theileria taurotragi and Theileria buffeli, and the majority were carriers of T. mutans. The bushbuck sampled were also carriers for Erhlichia bovis. There were some differences in the prevalence of haemoparasites between the calves sampled inside and neighbouring LMNP. In order to address the question of whether there is evidence for interbreeding between buffalo-associated and cattle-associated T. parva populations, multi-locus genotypes (MLGs) of T. parva (based on micro-satellite markers) from buffalo and from calves grazing inside and outside LMNP were compared, and the results revealed that buffalo and cattle gene pools were distinct, showing no evidence for transmission of buffalo-derived T. parva genotypes to the cattle population.
KeywordsBabesia Cattle Grazing Cattle Population Reverse Line Blot East Coast Fever
C.A.L. Oura was funded by a Tropical Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust.
We are grateful to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for collecting the blood samples from the buffalo in LMNP in Uganda We are especially thankful to Joseph Okori from UWA for his help and we would like to thank the PACE programme for allowing us access to the buffalo blood samples for this study. We are grateful to staff in Uganda for collecting the blood samples and to Dr. Richard Bishop, ILRI, Kenya for providing some of the tissue culture isolate DNA.
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