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Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infection of equids in Punjab, India: a serological and molecular survey

Abstract

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Submountain undulating, Undulating plain, Western and Western plain agro-climatic zones of Punjab province, India, to determine the prevalence, agreement between diagnostic tests and associated related risk factors of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infection in equids (horses, donkey, mules). An overall prevalence of 14.14 and 0.0 % of T. equi and B. caballi was recorded by multiplex polymerase chain reaction targeting 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) for both the parasites and 75 and 1.11 % by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a representative sample of 180 animals. Only two animals with positive antibody titre from B. caballi and none with PCR indicated T. equi as the predominant haemoprotozoan responsible for equine piroplasmosis in the study area. Among the PCR-positive animals, presence of tick vectors in farm vicinity was the most influential associated with T. equi infection (P = 0.002; odds ratio (OR) 9.30; 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 3.32–27.10). For animals with higher anti-T. equi antibody titres, strong association of sero-prevalence for T. equi was recorded with age, sex, usage, tick infestation and deworming/vaccination status of host animals and farm management strategies. The study has demonstrated the possible absence of B. caballi in both conducive and non-conducive areas of Punjab and demonstrated T. equi as the potential agent of equine piroplasmosis in Punjab.

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Acknowledgments

The funds for conducting of work were obtained from UGC project entitled “Development of control strategies based on molecular epidemiology and drug efficacy for equine piroplasmosis in Punjab” (C-VPS-UGC-24). We are very grateful to Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Principal Scientist, Veterinary Medicine, National Research Centre on Equines, India, and Dr. Moneeb Qablan, Department of Pathology and Parasitology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackeho 1/3, 61241, Brno, Czech Republic, for providing positive DNA samples.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Lachhman Das Singla.

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Sumbria, D., Singla, L.D. & Sharma, A. Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infection of equids in Punjab, India: a serological and molecular survey. Trop Anim Health Prod 48, 45–52 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-015-0917-1

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Keywords

  • Theileria equi
  • Babesia caballi
  • Multiplex PCR
  • cELISA
  • Punjab
  • Risk factors