Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research]]> vol. 84 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Comparison of three nucleic acid-based tests for detecting <em>Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma centrale</em> in cattle</b>]]> Several nucleic acid-based assays have been developed for detecting Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma centrale in vectors and hosts, making the choice of method to use in endemic areas difficult. We evaluated the ability of the reverse line blot (RLB) hybridisation assay, two nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) assays and a duplex real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay to detect A. marginale and A. centrale infections in cattle (n = 66) in South Africa. The lowest detection limits for A. marginale plasmid DNA were 2500 copies by the RLB assay, 250 copies by the nPCR and qPCR assays and 2500, 250 and 25 copies of A. centrale plasmid DNA by the RLB, nPCR and qPCR assays respectively. The qPCR assay detected more A. marginale- and A. centrale-positive samples than the other assays, either as single or mixed infections. Although the results of the qPCR and nPCR tests were in agreement for the majority (38) of A. marginale-positive samples, 13 samples tested negative for A. marginale using nPCR but positive using qPCR. To explain this discrepancy, the target sequence region of the nPCR assay was evaluated by cloning and sequencing the msp1β gene from selected field samples. The results indicated sequence variation in the internal forward primer (AM100) area amongst the South African A. marginale msp1β sequences, resulting in false negatives. We propose the use of the duplex qPCR assay in future studies as it is more sensitive and offers the benefits of quantification and multiplex detection of both Anaplasma spp. <![CDATA[<b>Molecular surveillance of spotted fever group rickettsioses in wildlife and detection of <em>Rickettsia sibirica</em> in a Topi (<em>Damaliscus lunatus ssp. jimela</em>) in Kenya</b>]]> Spotted fever group rickettsioses are a group of tick-borne zoonotic diseases caused by intracellular bacteria of the genus Rickettsia. The diseases are widely reported amongst international travellers returning from most sub-Saharan Africa with fever, yet their importance in local populations largely remains unknown. Although this has started to change and recently there have been increasing reports of the diseases in livestock, ticks and humans in Kenya, they have not been investigated in wildlife. We examined the presence, prevalence and species of Rickettsia present in wildlife in two regions of Kenya with a unique human-wildlife-livestock interface. For this purpose, 79 wild animals in Laikipia County and 73 in Maasai Mara National Reserve were sampled. DNA extracted from blood was tested using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the intergenic spacer rpmE-tRNAfMet and the citrate synthase-encoding gene gltA. Rickettsial DNA was detected in 2 of the 79 (2.5%) animals in Laikipia and 4 of the 73 (5.5%) in Maasai Mara. The PCR-positive amplicons of the gltA gene were sequenced to determine the detected Rickettsia species. This revealed Rickettsia sibirica in a Topi (Damaliscus lunatus ssp. jimela). This is the first report of spotted fever group rickettsioses in wildlife and the first to report R. sibirica in Kenya. The finding demonstrates the potential role of wild animals in the circulation of the diseases. <![CDATA[<b>Parasites of domestic and wild animals in South Africa. XLIX. Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting white and black rhinoceroses in southern Africa</b>]]> The objectives of the study were to determine the species composition of ticks infesting white and black rhinoceroses in southern Africa as well as the conservation status of those tick species that prefer rhinos as hosts. Ticks were collected opportunistically from rhinos that had been immobilised for management purposes, and 447 white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum) and 164 black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis) were sampled in South Africa, 61 black rhinos in Namibia, 18 white and 12 black rhinos in Zimbabwe, and 24 black rhinos in Zambia. Nineteen tick species were recovered, of which two species, Amblyomma rhinocerotis and Dermacentor rhinocerinus, prefer rhinos as hosts. A. rhinocerotis was collected only in the north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal reserves of South Africa and is endangered, while D. rhinocerinus is present in these reserves as well as in the Kruger National Park and surrounding conservancies. Eight of the tick species collected from the rhinos are ornate, and seven species are regularly collected from cattle. The species present on rhinos in the eastern, moister reserves of South Africa were amongst others Amblyomma hebraeum, A. rhinocerotis, D. rhinocerinus, Rhipicephalus maculatus, Rhipicephalus simus and Rhipicephalus zumpti, while those on rhinos in the Karoo and the drier western regions, including Namibia, were the drought-tolerant species, Hyalomma glabrum, Hyalomma rufipes, Hyalomma truncatum and Rhipicephalus gertrudae. The species composition of ticks on rhinoceroses in Zambia differed markedly from those of the other southern African countries in that Amblyomma sparsum, Amblyomma tholloni and Amblyomma variegatum accounted for the majority of infestations. <![CDATA[<b>Wildlife-livestock interactions and risk areas for cross-species spread of bovine tuberculosis</b>]]> The transmission of diseases between livestock and wildlife can be a hindrance to effective disease control. Maintenance hosts and contact rates should be explored to further understand the transmission dynamics at the wildlife-livestock interface. Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) has been shown to have wildlife maintenance hosts and has been confirmed as present in the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) in Uganda since the 1960s. The first aim of this study was to explore the spatio-temporal spread of cattle illegally grazing within the QENP recorded by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) rangers in a wildlife crime database. Secondly, we aimed to quantify wildlife-livestock interactions and cattle movements, on the border of QENP, using a longitudinal questionnaire completed by 30 livestock owners. From this database, 426 cattle sightings were recorded within QENP in 8 years. Thirteen (3.1%) of these came within a 300 m-4 week space-time window of a buffalo herd, using the recorded GPS data. Livestock owners reported an average of 1.04 (95% CI 0.97-1.11) sightings of Uganda kob, waterbuck, buffalo or warthog per day over a 3-month period, with a rate of 0.22 (95% CI 0.20-0.25) sightings of buffalo per farmer per day. Reports placed 85.3% of the ungulate sightings and 88.0% of the buffalo sightings as further than 50 m away. Ungulate sightings were more likely to be closer to cattle at the homestead (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1-3.6) compared with the grazing area. Each cattle herd mixed with an average of five other cattle herds at both the communal grazing and watering points on a daily basis. Although wildlife and cattle regularly shared grazing and watering areas, they seldom came into contact close enough for aerosol transmission. Between species infection transmission is therefore likely to be by indirect or non-respiratory routes, which is suspected to be an infrequent mechanism of transmission of BTB. Occasional cross-species spillover of infection is possible, and the interaction of multiple wildlife species needs further investigation. Controlling the interface between wildlife and cattle in a situation where eradication is not being considered may have little impact on BTB disease control in cattle. <![CDATA[<b>Response of cattle with clinical osteochondrosis to mineral supplementation</b>]]> Since 1982, farmers in the North West province and other parts of South Africa have noticed an increase in the incidence of lameness in cattle. Macro- and microscopical lesions of joints resembled osteochondrosis. Pre-trial data indicated that cattle with osteochondrotic lesions recovered almost completely when fed a supplement containing bio-available micro- and macrominerals of high quality. In the present trial, 43 clinically affected cattle of varying ages (1-5 years) and sexes were randomly divided into three groups. Each group was fed the same commercial supplement base with differing micro- and macromineral concentrations to determine the effect of mineral concentrations on the recovery from osteochondrosis. Both supplements 1 and 2 contained 25% of the recommended National Research Council (NRC) mineral values. Additional phosphate was added to supplement 2. Supplement 3, containing 80% of the NRC mineral values, was used as the control. Results from all three groups indicated no recovery from osteochondrosis. Urine pH of a small sample of the test cattle showed aciduria (pH < 6). Supplement analysis revealed addition of ammonium sulphate that contributed sulphate and nitrogen to the supplement. Supplementary dietary cation anion difference (DCAD) values were negative at -411 mEq/kg, -466 mEq/kg and -467 mEq/kg for supplements 1, 2 and 3, respectively, whereas the pre-trial supplement was calculated at +19.87 mEq/kg. It was hypothesised that feeding a low (negative) DCAD diet will predispose growing cattle to the development of osteochondrosis or exacerbate subclinical or clinical osteochondrosis in cattle. <![CDATA[<b>B-cell epitopes of African horse sickness virus serotype 4 recognised by immune horse sera</b>]]> Identifying antigenic proteins and mapping their epitopes is important for the development of diagnostic reagents and recombinant vaccines. B-cell epitopes of African horse sickness virus (AHSV) have previously been mapped on VP2, VP5, VP7 and NS1, using mouse, rabbit and chicken monoclonal antibodies. A comprehensive study of the humoral immune response of five vaccinated horses to AHSV-4 antigenic peptides was undertaken. A fragmented-genome phage display library expressing a repertoire of AHSV-4 peptides spanning the entire genome was constructed. The library was affinity selected for binders on immobilised polyclonal immunoglobulin G (IgG) isolated from horse sera collected pre- and post-immunisation with an attenuated AHSV-4 monovalent vaccine. The DNA inserts of binding phages were sequenced with Illumina high-throughput sequencing. The data were normalised using pre-immune IgG-selected sequences. More sequences mapped to the genes coding for NS3, VP6 and VP5 than to the other genes. However, VP2 and VP5 each had more antigenic regions than each of the other proteins. This study identified a number of epitopes to which the horse's humoral immune system responds during immunisation with AHSV-4. <![CDATA[<b>Parasites of domestic and wild animals in South Africa. L. Ixodid ticks infesting horses and donkeys</b>]]> The aim of the study was to determine the species spectrum of ixodid ticks that infest horses and donkeys in South Africa and to identify those species that act as vectors of disease to domestic livestock. Ticks were collected opportunistically from 391 horses countrywide by their owners or grooms, or by veterinary students and staff at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria. Ticks were also collected from 76 donkeys in Limpopo Province, 2 in Gauteng Province and 1 in North West province. All the ticks were identified by means of a stereoscopic microscope. Horses were infested with 17 tick species, 72.1% with Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi, 19.4% with Amblyomma hebraeum and 15.6% with Rhipicephalus decoloratus. Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi was recovered from horses in all nine provinces of South Africa and R. decoloratus in eight provinces. Donkeys were infested with eight tick species, and 81.6% were infested with R. evertsi evertsi, 23.7% with A. hebraeum and 10.5% with R. decoloratus. Several tick species collected from the horses and donkeys are the vectors of economically important diseases of livestock. Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi is the vector of Theileria equi, the causative organism of equine piroplasmosis. It also transmits Anaplasma marginale, the causative organism of anaplasmosis in cattle. Amblyomma hebraeum is the vector of Ehrlichia ruminantium, the causative organism of heartwater in cattle, sheep and goats, whereas R. decoloratus transmits Babesia bigemina, the causative organism of babesiosis in cattle. <![CDATA[<b>Epidemiology and effect of gastrointestinal nematodes on dairy goats in Argentina</b>]]> The aim of this work was to study the epidemiology and harmful effects of gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) on dairy goats maintained in an intensive system. Two groups of goats were studied: untreated group (UG) (subdivided into UGjun goats that kidded in June, and UGjul goats that kidded in July) and treated group (TG) (with no subgroups, treated with monepantel: 3.75 mg/kg, orally, monthly). Eggs per gram (epg) in faeces were counted, faecal culture was performed to differentiate nematode genera and milk production was measured. Differences between groups were compared using least squares means analysis of variance (milk production and milking period length) and Kruskal-Wallis test (faecal egg counts). Nematode infection was moderate, with Haemonchus and Trichostrongylus being the dominant genera; the faecal egg counts reached the level of 2000 only once throughout the study. Goats that kidded in June had higher egg count after parturition (UGjun = 1564 epg), with significant differences (p < 0.04) from those that still had not kidded (UGjul = 962 epg). Over the entire trial period, the mean total milk production of TG (399.5 L ± 34.0 L) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that of UG (281.6 L ± 37.5 L), representing an increase of 41.8% in total milk yield. The results of this study show a post-partum peak in egg count and a negative effect of GINs on milk yield, even with moderate infections. <![CDATA[<b>Parasites of domestic and wild animals in South Africa. LI. Ticks infesting leopard tortoises <i>Stigmochelys pardalis</i>, hingeback tortoises <i>Kinixys zombensis</i> and angulate tortoises <i>Chersina angulata</i></b>]]> The objective of the study was to record the tick species collected from three species of tortoise, each in a different province of South Africa. Ticks were collected from leopard tortoises, Stigmochyles pardalis, in the southern region of the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga province; from hingeback tortoises, Kinixys zombensis, in the Enseleni Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal province and from angulate tortoises, Chersina angulata, in the West Coast National Park, Western Cape province. Of the 63 leopard tortoises examined, 58 were infested with Amblyomma marmoreum and 49 with Amblyomma hebraeum, and all stages of development of both species were recovered. Amblyomma nuttalli was collected from 25 hingeback tortoises, and all stages of development were present. All 24 angulate tortoises examined were infested with Amblyomma sylvaticum, and large numbers of larvae, nymphs and adults were collected. Three snake species and a sand lizard were also infested with A. sylvaticum. The adults of A. marmoreum, A. nuttalli and A. sylvaticum were identified as specific parasites of the family Testudinidae, whereas all stages of development of A. hebraeum were classified as generalists. <![CDATA[<b>History of Newcastle disease in South Africa</b>]]> Poultry production in South Africa, a so-called developing country, may be seen as a gradient between two extremes with highly integrated commercial enterprises with world-class facilities on one hand and unimproved rural chickens kept by households and subsistence farmers on the other. Although vaccination against Newcastle disease is widely applied to control this devastating infection, epizootics continue to occur. Since the first official diagnosis in 1945, through the sporadic outbreaks of the 1950s and early 1960s, to serious epizootics caused by genotype VIII (late 1960s-2000), genotype VIIb (1993-1999), genotype VIId (2003-2012) and most recently genotype VIIh (2013 to present), South Africa's encounters with exotic Newcastle disease follow global trends. Importation - probably illegal - of infected poultry, poultry products or exotic birds and illegal swill dumping are likely routes of entry. Once the commercial sector is affected, the disease spreads rapidly within the region via transportation routes. Each outbreak genotype persisted for about a decade and displaced its predecessor. <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence and renal pathology of pathogenic <em>Leptospira spp.</em> in wildlife in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria</b>]]> There is paucity of information on the prevalence of leptospirosis in wildlife in Nigeria. This study investigated the prevalence and renal pathology of leptospirosis in wild animals in Southwest Nigeria. One hundred and five kidney samples were examined from 10 different wildlife species (antelope) greater cane rat (GCR), hare, African giant rat (AGR), tree hyrax, civet cat, monitor lizard, python, bushbuck and partridge) using a combination of Ellinghausen McCullough Johnson Harris (EMJH) medium, microscopic agglutination test (MAT), Warthin-Starry silver stain (WSss) and immunohistochemistry. Chi-square test was used with confidence level set at 0.05 to ascertain associations between positive cases and sex and species. Eighty-two (78.1%) samples were culturally positive, while 67.7% (63/93), 57.0% (16/28) and 66.7% (8/12) were WSss, MAT and immunohistochemically positive, respectively. Interstitial nephritis (41.0%) and tubular nephrosis (81.0%) were the most prominent histopathological changes. Pathogenic Leptospira organisms were highest in GCR (32.1%) and antelope (14.3%). Serovars hardjo (11.54%), bratislava (3.9%), canicola (3.9%), icterohaemorrhagiae (15.4%), pomona (7.14%) gripptotyphosa (19.2%) and undetermined isolates were also detected in other animals. The result showed high prevalence of Leptospira infection in the wild and the possibility of domestic animals and humans contracting the disease. This study is the first documentation of evidence of pathogenic Leptospira species in wildlife in Nigeria. <![CDATA[<b>Somatic cell count thresholds in composite and quarter milk samples as indicator of bovine intramammary infection status</b>]]> The objective of the study was to establish an operational somatic cell count (SCC) threshold to predict the presence of intramammary infection (IMI) in composite milk samples and compare findings with those in quarter milk samples. South African dairy producers now preferred composite milk samples for herd udder health analysis because of increasing cow numbers, convenience of sampling and lower cost. A retrospective study was conducted on 345 461 composite and 89 638 quarter milk samples from South African herds. Variance estimates for the proportion of quarter samples testing positive were adjusted to account for the lack of their independence within individual cows. The IMI at SCC thresholds of 150 000 cells/mL and 200 000 cells/mL differed only by 3.26% in composite milk samples. Youden's index indicated the optimum SCC thresholds for composite and quarter milk samples as 150 000 cells/mL and 200 000 cells/mL, respectively. At 150 000 cells/mL, sensitivity (95% confidence intervals [CI]) in composite milk samples was 65.3% (64.0%, 66.6%) and specificity was 66.8% (65.7%, 67.9%); and in quarter milk samples, sensitivity at 200 000 cells/mL was 70.8% (69.5%, 72.0%) and specificity was 63.6% (62.4%, 64.8%). The likelihood of infection for udders and quarters, respectively, was 1.034 and 1.327 at an SCC threshold of 150 000 cells/mL and 0.864 cells/mL and 1.177 cells/mL at 200 000 cells/mL. The area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristics graph was 0.7084 and 0.7277 for composite and quarter samples, respectively, indicating that the SCC test could be considered as a good indicator of IMI in both sample types. <![CDATA[<b>Lumpy skin disease in cattle: Frequency of occurrence in a dairy farm and a preliminary assessment of its possible impact on Egyptian buffaloes</b>]]> Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is an endemic infectious disease of cattle in Egypt. This survey aimed to define the prevalence of clinical and sub-clinical LSD virus (LSDV) infection among cattle and investigate their contact with water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) in order to improve the understanding of LSD epidemiology. Cattle and buffalo were examined owing to the appearance of skin lesions. Because clinical signs were consistent with LSDV infection, samples from cattle in a non-grazing dairy farm (n = 450) were submitted for LSDV testing together with those from the in-contact buffaloes (n = 100). Results revealed that the intra-herd percentage of cattle infected with LSDV varied with the detection method. This ranged from 22.4% to 65.4% by virus isolation (VI) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively, in clinical cattle samples, compared to 0% and 10% by VI and PCR in non-clinical cases. Using the neutralising index (NI), LSDV antibodies were found in 100% (n = 100) of the tested cow's sera (NI = > 2.0 and ≥ 3.0), whereas buffalo's sera (n = 34) displayed little increase in antibody level (NI ≥ 1.5). None of the buffalo were positive for LSDV by VI and PCR. In addition, there were no significant differences in LSD prevalence among the cattle with regard to age and sex. In conclusion, the occurrence of LSD in cattle warrants a further epidemiological study of the spread of the disease in the area and adoption of control and prevention strategies. In addition, the PCR assay was confirmed to be useful in the diagnosis of LSDV and for wider epidemiological studies. <![CDATA[<b>Identification and phylogenetic analysis of contagious ecthyma virus from camels (<em>Camelus dromedarius</em>) in Iran</b>]]> Contagious ecthyma is a highly contagious disease affecting domestic and wild ruminants such as sheep, goats and camels. The identification and characterisation of a parapoxvirus (PPV) infecting camels is described here. The virus was detected in dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) from Kerman and Shiraz in Iran. PPV-specific amplification by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) further confirmed that the disease was associated with PPV infection. Phylogenetic analysis of ORF011 (B2L) gene sequences showed 99.79% and 82.13% similarity of the PPV identified in this study with the Jodhpur isolate and the bovine papular stomatitis virus (BPSV) isolates (CE41), respectively. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of the ORF045 gene indicated that the Shiraz sample was in all probability closely related to VR634 and to F00.120R and PCPV776. In conclusion, the results suggest that camel PPV (CPPV) is a likely cause of contagious ecthyma in dromedary camels in Iran. <![CDATA[<b>The use of <i>Lespedeza cuneata</i> for natural control of gastrointestinal nematodes in Merino sheep</b>]]> Lespedeza cuneata (poorman's lucerne; sericea lespedeza), a tannin-rich perennial legume, was offered as hay to dry Merino ewes in a confined feeding experiment to evaluate the effect on the level of gastrointestinal parasite infection in sheep. Medicago sativa (a low tannin containing perennial legume) was used as the control treatment. Parameters faecal egg count (FEC), FAMACHA© scores and rectal temperatures were used. FECs were substantially lower (p = 0.05) in the Lespedeza group after 35 days, together with a trend of higher rectal temperatures, compared with the Medicago group. Although non-significant (p > 0.05), the higher rectal temperatures suggested a lower level of anaemia in the sheep on the Lespedeza ration and, therefore, a lower parasite-worm burden. However, FAMACHA© scores showed no significant (p > 0.05) differences between treatments despite the differences in FEC that were recorded, indicating that host homeostasis was possibly mediated by improved nutrition as a result of the high protein content of both experimental diets. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of plant-produced <i>Clostridium perfringens</i> type D <i>epsilon</i> toxoid in a vaccine against enterotoxaemia in sheep</b>]]> Enterotoxaemia (pulpy kidney) is a common bacterial disease of sheep caused by Clostridium perfringens type D epsilon toxin. It has mortality rates of up to 30% in non-vaccinated animals. Current vaccines from whole cell cultures are expensive to manufacture and can induce local inflammatory responses in sheep. They usually have reduced immunogenicity because of the difficulty of standardising the inactivation step in vaccine manufacturing. In the current study, we evaluated the safety and potency of a recombinant plant-made epsilon toxoid protein (r-Etox) as an affordable and safer alternative vaccine for developing countries. Results of injection site reactions, rectal temperature and toxin neutralisation test in single and prime-boost inoculations of mice, guinea pigs and sheep suggest that the product is not toxic to animals and could protect sheep against enterotoxaemia. <![CDATA[<b>Emerging vector-borne diseases in dromedaries in Tunisia: West Nile, bluetongue, epizootic haemorrhagic disease and Rift Valley fever</b>]]> A total of 118 sera were collected during 2016 from two groups of dromedaries from Kebili and Medenine governorates in the south of Tunisia. The aim of this study was to provide the first serological investigation of four emerging vector-borne diseases in two groups of dromedaries in Tunisia. Sera were tested by ELISA and serum neutralisation test to identify West Nile virus (WNV), bluetongue virus (BTV), epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). In the first group, the seroprevalence for BTV was 4.6%, while in the second group, it was 25.8% for WNV and 9.7% for BTV. Only serotype 1 was detected for BTV in the two groups. No evidence for circulation of RVF and EHD viruses was revealed. Results indicated that dromedaries can be infected with BTV and WNV, suggesting that this species might play a significant role in the epizootiology of these viral diseases in Tunisia and neighbouring countries. <![CDATA[<b>The involvement of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis in stress physiology and its significance in the assessment of animal welfare in cattle</b>]]> The intensification of cattle production has raised concern for animal welfare due to the stress that is associated with farming practices. The welfare of an animal is determined by the animal's ability to cope with or adapt to its continuously changing environment and the biological cost that is associated with this adaptation and maintenance. Stressors arise from various psychological, physiological and physical aspects of farming practices due to management and human-cattle interactions. Measuring the activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis with plasma cortisol levels is a useful method for determining the effects of stress on animals as it is stimulated at the onset of a perceived stress. The activation of the HPA axis affects various target tissues or systems and can result in suppression of the immune system, increased susceptibility to disease and adverse effects on reproductive success in prenatal and neonatal calves. Although some levels of stress associated with farming practices are unavoidable, improvements in farming methods need to be implemented in order to maintain or increase the efficiency of cattle production in a way that does not compromise the welfare of the animal. <![CDATA[<b>Detection and prevalence of antimicrobial resistance genes in <i>Campylobacter</i> spp. isolated from chickens and humans</b>]]> Campylobacter spp. are common pathogenic bacteria in both veterinary and human medicine. Infections caused by Campylobacter spp. are usually treated using antibiotics. However, the injudicious use of antibiotics has been proven to spearhead the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The purpose of this study was to detect the prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes in Campylobacter spp. isolated from chickens and human clinical cases in South Africa. One hundred and sixty one isolates of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli were collected from chickens and human clinical cases and then screened for the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes. We observed a wide distribution of the tetO gene, which confers resistance to tetracycline. The gyrA genes that are responsible quinolone resistance were also detected. Finally, our study also detected the presence of the blaOXA-61, which is associated with ampicillin resistance. There was a higher (p < 0.05) prevalence of the studied antimicrobial resistance genes in chicken faeces compared with human clinical isolates. The tetO gene was the most prevalent gene detected, which was isolated at 64% and 68% from human and chicken isolates, respectively. The presence of gyrA genes was significantly (p < 0.05) associated with quinolone resistance. In conclusion, this study demonstrated the presence of gyrA (235 bp), gyrA (270 bp), blaOXA-61 and tetO antimicrobial resistance genes in C. jejuni and C. coli isolated from chickens and human clinical cases. This indicates that Campylobacter spp. have the potential of resistance to a number of antibiotic classes. <![CDATA[<b>Spatiotemporal patterns of clinical bovine dermatophilosis in Zimbabwe 1995-2014</b>]]> A retrospective study of clinical bovine dermatophilosis outbreaks and cases for the period 1995-2014 was conducted, using data obtained from the Division of Veterinary Services (DVS). A total of 3856 outbreaks and 26 659 cases of dermatophilosis were reported countrywide during this period. The post rainy season accounted for 37.9% of the outbreaks followed by the rainy season (26.7%), cold dry season (22.1%) and the hot dry season (13.2%). A retrospective space-time scan statistic in SaTScan™ was used to detect clusters. From this study, it was evident that dermatophilosis was spreading from the north-west of Zimbabwe through the central to the north-east during the period 2010-2014. Five clusters were identified mainly in the central and north-western regions of Zimbabwe. The primary cluster was centred at Ungwe, Gokwe district in Midlands; the second, third, fourth and fifth likely clusters were centred at Bonga (Mashonaland Central), ARDA (Mashonaland West), Nsenga (Matabeleland North) and Zanda in Gokwe, respectively. The findings of this study suggest the continued spread of dermatophilosis across the country; as such the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services are advised to develop measures aimed at managing this spread such as dipping, quarantine, movement control and raising farmer awareness. <![CDATA[<b>Differential virulence and tsetse fly transmissibility of <i>Trypanosoma congolense</i> and <i>Trypanosoma brucei</i> strains</b>]]> African animal trypanosomiasis causes significant economic losses in sub-Saharan African countries because of livestock mortalities and reduced productivity. Trypanosomes, the causative agents, are transmitted by tsetse flies (Glossina spp.). In the current study, we compared and contrasted the virulence characteristics of five Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma brucei isolates using groups of Swiss white mice (n = 6). We further determined the vectorial capacity of Glossina pallidipes, for each of the trypanosome isolates. Results showed that the overall pre-patent (PP) periods were 8.4 ± 0.9 (range, 4-11) and 4.5 ± 0.2 (range, 4-6) for T. congolense and T. brucei isolates, respectively (p < 0.01). Despite the longer mean PP, T. congolense-infected mice exhibited a significantly (p < 0.05) shorter survival time than T. brucei-infected mice, indicating greater virulence. Differences were also noted among the individual isolates with T. congolense KETRI 2909 causing the most acute infection of the entire group with a mean ± standard error survival time of 9 ± 2.1 days. Survival time of infected tsetse flies and the proportion with mature infections at 30 days post-exposure to the infective blood meals varied among isolates, with subacute infection-causing T. congolense EATRO 1829 and chronic infection-causing T. brucei EATRO 2267 isolates showing the highest mature infection rates of 38.5% and 23.1%, respectively. Therefore, our study provides further evidence of occurrence of differences in virulence and transmissibility of eastern African trypanosome strains and has identified two, T. congolense EATRO 1829 and T. brucei EATRO 2267, as suitable for tsetse infectivity and transmissibility experiments. <![CDATA[<b>Phylogenetic analysis of a partial L1 gene from bovine papillomavirus type 1 isolated from naturally occurring papilloma cases in the northwestern region of Turkey</b>]]> This study was aimed at the molecular characterisation of bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) isolated from papilloma cases in the northwestern region of Turkey. BPV-1 is a widely occurring oncogenic virus in cattle and is associated with benign epithelial neoplasia which causes significant economic losses in dairy and beef cattle because of treatment costs. In this study, 29 suspected papilloma specimens were collected from cattle in northwestern Turkey. These samples underwent molecular characterisation via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing analysis as well as macroscopic and histopathological examination. The histopathological examinations confirmed papilloma as the main lesion type in the specimens. Of the 29 papilloma-like tissue samples that were collected, 11 (i.e. 37.93%) were detected as positive and determined as containing BPV-1 (11 of 11, 100%). Using a partial sequence for the L1 gene acquired from GenBank, phylogenetic analysis confirmed the presence of BPV-1 and revealed that the infection might have originated in cross bred domestic and imported cattle. This study provides potentially useful information on the origin and spread of this disease. Its results can potentially aid in the development of appropriate control measures and therapeutic or vaccination strategies against the BPV-1 strain of bovine papillomatosis. <![CDATA[<b>The sero-prevalence and sero-incidence of African horse sickness and equine encephalosis in selected horse and donkey populations in Zimbabwe</b>]]> Sentinel herds and samples submitted by private equine practitioners were used to determine the sero-prevalence and sero-incidence of African horse sickness virus (AHSV) and equine encephalosis virus (EEV) in horse and donkey populations in the Highveld region of Zimbabwe. The sero-prevalence and sero-incidence of antibodies against these viruses were determined using the competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of serum antibodies. In donkeys, the median sero-prevalence of AHSV antibodies, across the three rainy seasons under study, was 75% (inter quartile range [IQR] 67-83), with a seasonal median sero-incidence of 45% (IQR 40-63). In horses, the median sero-prevalence of EEV antibodies was 63% (IQR 21-73), with a median seasonal sero-incidence of 10.5% (IQR 10-14), while in donkeys the median sero-prevalence of EEV antibodies was 80% (IQR 67-90), with a median seasonal sero-incidence of 50% (IQR 40-60). This study highlighted the significant levels of exposure of donkeys to AHSV and horses and donkeys to EEV in Zimbabwe despite equine encephalosis remaining unreported by Zimbabwean veterinarians to date. Most seroconversions in sentinel herd animals to AHSV and EEV occurred towards the end of the rainy season in March, April and May corresponding to the time of the year when the Culicoides vectors are in high abundance. In order to determine the clinical significance of these infections, blood and spleen samples, submitted by private equine veterinary practitioners over a 5-year period, from horses showing characteristic clinical signs of African horse sickness were tested for the presence of viral antigen using the antigen capture ELISA. The median sero-prevalence of AHSV antigen in horses recorded from these samples was 38% (IQR 33-88). The predominant AHSV antigen from these samples was serotype 7 (33%) followed by serotype 2 (26%) and serotypes 4 and 8 (16% each). African horse sickness virus serotypes 3 and 9, identified in this study, had not been previously reported in Zimbabwe. <![CDATA[<b>Epidemiological studies based on multi-locus sequence typing genotype of methicillin susceptible <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> isolated from camel's milk</b>]]> One hundred milk samples were collected from camel's milk for the isolation of Staphylococcus aureus. Thirty-one isolates were S. aureus, 45 were other forms of staphylococci and 24 represented other bacteria. Five isolates from S. aureus were methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and 26 samples were methicillin susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). The whole genome sequence of S. aureus was annotated and visualised by rapid annotation using subsystem technology (RAST) which is a fully-automated service for annotating complete or nearly complete bacterial genomes. Four isolates from MSSA strains were subjected to multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). Three multi-locus sequences types or sequence types (MLST/ST) were found, namely ST15, ST1153 and ST130. The phylogenetic analysis of the concatenated sequences of the seven genes forming the MLST profile of S. aureus classification revealed a high degree of similarity and close relationship between the ST15 and ST1153 while the third ST (ST130) was located in a different cluster. <![CDATA[<b>A retrospective study of anthrax on the Ghaap Plateau, Northern Cape province of South Africa, with special reference to the 2007-2008 outbreaks</b>]]> Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the gram-positive, endospore-forming and soil-borne bacterium Bacillus anthracis. When in spore form, the organism can survive in dormancy in the environment for decades. It is a controlled disease of livestock and wild ungulates in South Africa. In South Africa, the two enzootic regions are the Kruger National Park and the Ghaap Plateau in the Northern Cape province. Farms on the Plateau span thousands of hectares comprising of wildlife - livestock mixed use farming. In 2007-2008, anthrax outbreaks in the province led to government officials intervening to aid farmers with control measures aimed at preventing further losses. Because of the ability of the organism to persist in the environment for prolonged periods, an environmental risk or isolation survey was carried out in 2012 to determine the efficacy of control measures employed during the 2007-2008, anthrax outbreaks. No B. anthracis could be isolated from the old carcass sites, even when bone fragments from the carcasses were still clearly evident. This is an indication that the control measures and protocols were apparently successful in stemming the continuity of spore deposits at previously positive carcass sites. <![CDATA[<b>Geigerin-induced cytotoxicity in a murine myoblast cell line (C2C12)</b>]]> Geigeria poisoning in sheep, locally known as 'vermeersiekte', is an economically important plant poisoning in southern Africa. The toxic principles contained by the toxic plants are believed to be several sesquiterpene lactones, such as geigerin, vermeeric acid and vermeerin, which cause striated muscle lesions in small stock. Because of ethical issues surrounding the use of live animals in toxicity studies, there is currently a dire need to establish an in vitro model that can be used to replace traditional animal experimentation. The objective of this study was to determine the cytotoxicity of geigerin in a murine myoblast cell line (C2C12) using methyl-thiazol-tetrazolium (MTT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assays, annexin V and propidium iodide (PI) flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Mouse myoblasts were exposed to 2.0 mM, 2.5 mM and 5.0 mM geigerin for 24, 48 and 72 h. A concentration-dependent cytotoxic response was observed. Apoptosis was detected by means of annexin V flow cytometry during the first 24 h and apoptotic bodies were also visible on TEM. According to the LDH and PI flow cytometry results, myoblast cell membranes were not injured. We concluded that the murine myoblast cell line (C2C12) is a suitable model for future studies planned to evaluate the cytotoxicity of other and combinations of sesquiterpene lactones, with and without metabolic activation, implicated in 'vermeersiekte' and to elucidate the subcellular effects of these myotoxins on cultured myoblasts. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of a portable lactate meter for field use in the white rhinoceros (<i>Ceratotherium simum</i>)</b>]]> Blood lactate is a predictor of mortality in critically ill humans and animals. Handheld lactate meters have the potential to be used in the field to evaluate the condition of severely injured rhinoceroses but have not been compared with laboratory-based methods. Agreement between a handheld lactate meter and a laboratory method was assessed, as was the stability of rhino blood lactate in the anticoagulant sodium fluoride/potassium oxalate (fluoride/oxalate). Blood samples were obtained from 53 white rhinos that had been immobilised for management reasons. Lactate was measured by means of a handheld meter using whole blood in heparin (WBHEP), whole blood in fluoride/oxalate (WBFO) and fluoride/oxalate plasma (PFO). Results were recorded in both blood (BL) and plasma (PL) modes and compared to an established laboratory method for measuring plasma lactate. To assess the stability of lactate over time, blood lactate in fluoride/oxalate was measured on the handheld meter at intervals for up to 91 h. Agreement was best using WBFO in PL mode, with small bias (−0.16), tight 95% limits of agreement (LOA) (−1.46, 1.14) and a Pc (95% CI) of 0.97 (0.92, 0.99). The agreement was improved for all sample types when using the PL mode compared to the blood lactate (BL) mode. Blood lactate was stable in fluoride/oxalate for 91 h, with a mean change from baseline of 0.15 (−0.178, 0.478) mmol/L (mean, 95% CI). The handheld meter was found to be suitable for field use in white rhinos but provided more reliable results with the device in PL mode. Furthermore, rhino blood lactate was found to be stable in fluoride/oxalate for as long as 3 days. <![CDATA[<b>Seroprevalence and risk factors for <i>Coxiella burnetii</i>, the causative agent of Q fever in the dromedary camel (<i>Camelus dromedarius</i>) population in Algeria</b>]]> Query (Q) fever is a globally distributed zoonotic disease caused by Coxiella burnetii, a bacterial agent for which ruminants are the most prevalent natural reservoir. Data regarding Q fever infection in camels in Algeria are limited. Therefore, a survey to detect seroprevalence of C. burnetii antibodies was conducted among healthy camel populations in a vast area in southeastern Algeria to determine distribution of the Q fever causative organism and to identify risk factors associated with infection. Between January and March 2016, blood samples were collected from 184 camels and serum samples were subsequently analysed using a commercial Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) kit. At the time of blood collection, a questionnaire investigating 13 potential predisposing factors associated with C. burnetii seropositivity was completed for every dromedary camel and herd. Results were analysed by a chi-square (χ²) test and multivariate logistic regression. The seroprevalence of C. burnetii at the animal level was 71.2% (95% CI: 65.2-78.3) and 85.3% (95% CI: 72.8-97.8) at the herd level. At the animal level, differences in seroprevalence were observed because of herd size, animal age, animal sex, presence of ticks and contact with other herds. A multivariable logistic regression model identified three main risk factors associated with individual seropositivity: (1) age class > 11 years (OR = 8.81, 95% CI: 2.55-30.41), (2) herd size > 50 head (OR = 4.46, 95% CI: 1.01-19.59) and (3) infestation with ticks (OR 2.2; 95% CI: 1.1-4.5). This study of seroprevalence of C. burnetii infection in camels in Algeria revealed a high seroprevalence of Q fever in camel populations in southeastern Algeria and provided strong evidence that Q fever represents an economic, public health and veterinary concern. Appropriate measures should be taken to prevent the spread of C. burnetii and to reduce the risk of Q fever in farm animals and humans in this agro-ecologically and strategically important region of North Africa. <![CDATA[<b>A serosurvey of bluetongue and epizootic haemorrhagic disease in a convenience sample of sheep and cattle herds in Zimbabwe</b>]]> A convenience sample of sheep and cattle herds around the cities of Harare, Kwekwe and Bulawayo, located in the Highveld region of Zimbabwe, was used to estimate the sero-prevalence and sero-incidence of bluetongue virus (BTV) and epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) antibodies. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to identify serum antibodies against BTV and EHDV across three rainy seasons. The median sero-prevalence of BTV and EHDV antibodies in cattle was 62% (interquartile range [IQR]: 30-89) and 56% (IQR: 5-77), respectively. In sheep, the median sero-prevalence of BTV and EHDV was 41% (IQR: 19-63) and 0% (IQR: 0-21), respectively. Median sero-incidences of BTV and EHDV antibodies in cattle of 43% (IQR: 22-67) and 27% (IQR: 9-57) respectively were recorded. The median sero-incidence of BTV in sheep was 14% (IQR: 6-23). Based on these preliminary findings, animal health workers in Zimbabwe should continue to monitor the exposure rates of cattle and sheep to BTV and consider the possibility of strains emerging with increased pathogenicity. There are no previous published reports of antibodies against EHDV in Zimbabwe so the possibility of epizootic haemorrhagic disease existing in domestic livestock should now be considered by Zimbabwean animal health officials. Seroconversions to BTV and EHDV occurred predominantly at the end of each rainy season (March and April), which generally corresponds to high numbers of the Culicoides vectors. BTV isolations were made from three individual cows in two of the sentinel herds and all three were identified as serotype 3. This is the first time BTV serotype 3 has been recorded in Zimbabwe, although its presence in neighbouring South Africa is well documented.