Molecular identification, genetic diversity and distribution of Theileria and Babesia species infecting small ruminants

Kursat Altay, Nazir Dumanli, Munir Aktas
Veterinary Parasitology 2007 June 20, 147 (1): 161-5
Detection and identification of Theileria and Babesia species in 920 apparently healthy small ruminants in eastern Turkey, as well as parasite genetic diversity, was investigated using a specifically designed reverse line blot (RLB) assay. The hypervariable V4 region of the 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene was amplified and hybridized to a membrane onto which catchall and species-specific oligonucleotide probes were covalently linked. Three Theileria and one Babesia genotype were identified. Comparison of the Theileria genotypes revealed 93.6-96.2% similarity among their 18S rRNA genes. Two Theileria shared 100% and 99.7% similarity with the previously described sequences of T. ovis and Theileria sp. OT3, respectively. A third Theileria genotype was found to be clearly different from previously described Theileria species. The genotype was provisionally designated as Theileria sp. MK. The Babesia genotype shared 100% similarity with Babesia ovis. The survey indicated a high prevalence of piroplasm infections in small ruminants (38.36%). Theileria spp. prevalence was 36.08%. Prevalence of B. ovis was 5.43%. The most abundant Theileria species identified was T. ovis (34.56%) followed by Theileia sp. MK (1.30%) and Theileria sp. OT3 (0.43%).

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