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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128


MOFOKENG, Lehlohonolo S.; TAIOE, Oriel M.; SMIT, Nico J.  and  THEKISOE, Oriel M.M.. Parasites of veterinary importance from domestic animals in uMkhanyakude district of KwaZulu-Natal province. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2020, vol.91, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2224-9435.

This study investigated the occurrence and phylogenetic relationship of protozoan parasites and Ehrlichia infecting domestic animals from three municipalities in uMkhanyakude district of KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. A total of 208 blood samples collected from clinically healthy cattle, sheep, goats and dogs from uMkhanyakude district were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, using either genus or species-specific primers to determine the occurrence and phylogenetic relationship of various protozoan parasites and Ehrlichia of veterinary importance. A total of 5/109 (4.6%) cattle were PCR-positive for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, 33/109 (30.3%) for Babesia bovis, 24/109 (22.02%) for Babesia bigemina and 20/109 (18.3%) for Trypanosoma sp., while 3/10 (30%) of sheep were PCR-positive for Theileria ovis and none of the goats were positive for any of the detected pathogens. The co-infection of 4/109 (3.7%) B. bovis and B. bigemina was detected in cattle. Only Ehrlichia canis was detected in dogs with infection rate of 20/48 (41.7%). Sequences of PCR-positive isolates (B. bovis, B. bigemina, E. canis, T. ovis and T. gondii) showed that they were closely related to their relevant species from various countries. These findings have expanded our knowledge about the prevalence and phylogenetic similarity between protozoan parasites and Ehrlichia isolates of South African origin. To date, this is the first study in South Africa to detect T. gondii infections from cattle blood using PCR.

Keywords : Babesia sp; Ehrlichia canis; Theileria sp; Trypanosoma sp; Toxoplasma gondii.

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