Ehrlichial infection in Cameroonian canines by Ehrlichia canis and Ehrlichia ewingii

L M Ndip, R N Ndip, S N Esemu, V L Dickmu, E B Fokam, D H Walker, J W McBride
Veterinary Microbiology 2005 November 30, 111 (1): 59-66
Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii are agents of emerging human ehrlichioses in North America and are transmitted primarily by Amblyomma americanum ticks, while Ehrlichia canis is the globally distributed cause of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) and is transmitted by the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Although E. canis and Ehrlichia ruminantium are endemic in Africa, the presence of ehrlichial agents in dogs and ticks in Cameroon has not been investigated. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of ehrlichial infections in Cameronian dogs using a combination of serologic and molecular methods. Peripheral blood was collected, clinical signs and the presence or absence of ticks on dogs (n=104) presenting for various reasons at local veterinary clinics around the Mount Cameroon region were noted. IFA identified 33 dogs (32%) with antibodies reactive with E. canis, and reactivity of these sera with all major E. canis antigens (200, 140, 95, 75, 47, 36, 28, and 19-kDa) was confirmed by immunoblotting. Multicolor real-time PCR detected ehrlichial DNA (E. canis (15) and E. ewingii (2)) in 17 dogs (16.3%), all of which had attached ticks at time of presentation. The dsb amplicons (378 bp) from E. canis and E. ewingii were identical to gene sequences from North American isolates. This study identifies canine ehrlichiosis as a prevalent unrecognized cause of disease in Cameroonian canines.

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