Detection and molecular characterization of Theileria sp. in fallow deer (Dama dama) and ticks from an Italian natural preserve

R Galuppi, S Aureli, C Bonoli, M Caffara, M P Tampieri
Research in Veterinary Science 2011, 91 (1): 110-5
The prevalence of piroplasms in a closed population of fallow deer (Dama dama L.) living in the Italian preserve of "Bosco della Mesola"--Ferrara (Mesola wood) was investigated. Blood samples and ticks were collected from 62 fallow deer. On microscopic observation, 28 (45.0%) blood samples were positive for piroplasms while PCR provided evidence for piroplasms infection in 47 (75.8%) fallow deer. The 67 ticks, collected from positive and negative animals, were identified as Ixodesricinus L., 1758 (89.6%) and Haemaphysalisconcinna Koch, 1844 (10.4%). At the PCR, four samples of I. ricinus were positive for piroplasms. The sequences of the 18S rRNA gene from both blood and ticks were identical and showed high identity (99.6%) with Theileria sp. 3185/02 (DQ866842) and Theileria capreoli (AY726011) from roe deer. Interestingly, the phylogenetical analyses evidenced differences between the Theileria strain from Mesola wood and the ones isolated in fallow deer from other Italian areas.

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