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Molecular detection of pathogens in ticks infesting cattle in Nampula province, Mozambique

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Abstract

Ticks are ectoparasites that can act as vectors of a large number of pathogens in wild and domestic animals, pets, and occasionally humans. The global threat of emerging or re-emerging tick-borne diseases supports the need for research focused in the zoonotic transmission, especially in countries like Mozambique where rural populations are in close contact with domestic animals. The present study aims to: (1) identify tick species infesting cattle from Monapo and Nacala Porto, districts of Nampula province, Mozambique; and (2) investigate the presence of pathogens in the collected ticks. A total of 646 ticks were collected from cattle and morphologically identified as Amblyomma variegatum, Rhipicephalus microplus, and R. evertsi evertsi. For convenience, 72 A. variegatum and 15 R. microplus from Monapo, and 30 A. variegatum from Nacala Porto were screened for the presence of the selected pathogens: Rickettsia spp. (A. variegatum), and Babesia/Theileria spp. and Anaplasma/Ehrlichia spp. (R. microplus). Rickettsia africae was detected in four of the 72 A. variegatum collected in Monapo (5.6%). Additionally, one R. microplus tick (6.7%) was positive for Theileria velifera, one positive for Colpodella spp., one positive for Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii, and another one positive for Anaplasma ovis. Using the present approach, no microorganisms were detected in tick samples from Nacala Porto. These findings expand our knowledge about the repertoire of tick-borne microorganisms in ticks in Nampula province, Mozambique.

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Acknowledgements

This manuscript is a part of the dissertation that Ana Marcília Matsimbe developed under the master course on Tropical Medicine and Global Health funded by the Medical Education partnership Initiative grants number R24TW008908 from the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH). The authors acknowledge Varda Shkap (Kimron Veterinary Institute, Israel) for kindly providing B. bigemina control and Rosangela Zacarias Machado (Universidade Estadual Paulista-Campus Jaboticabal, Brazil) for the E. canis control. We also thank Professor Virgílio do Rosário for valuable advices. FCT for funds to GHTM—UID/Multi/04413/2013.

Author contributions

AM and VM participated in tick collections, tick identification, conducted DNA extraction and performed R. africae PCR screening. GS and SA performed the PCR for Babesia/Theileria and Anaplasmataceae family. GS, SA, and AD analysed data and wrote the article. LN, EM and AD designed and supervised the study. All authors edited and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ana Domingos.

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Matsimbe, A.M., Magaia, V., Sanches, G.S. et al. Molecular detection of pathogens in ticks infesting cattle in Nampula province, Mozambique. Exp Appl Acarol 73, 91–102 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10493-017-0155-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10493-017-0155-5

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