Evidence for host specificity of Theileria capreoli genotypes in cervids

Sándor Hornok, László Sugár, Gábor Horváth, Tibor Kovács, Attila Micsutka, Enikő Gönczi, Barbara Flaisz, Nóra Takács, Róbert Farkas, Marina L Meli, Regina Hofmann-Lehmann
Parasites & Vectors 2017 October 10, 10 (1): 473
Data on the prevalence of piroplasms in buffaloes and large game animal species are lacking from several central European countries. Therefore, to investigate the presence of Babesia/Theileria DNA in these hosts, 239 blood and 270 spleen samples were taken from cervids (red, fallow, and roe deer), as well as from water buffaloes, mouflons, and wild boars in southwestern Hungary, followed by DNA extraction and molecular analysis for piroplasms. All samples from buffaloes and wild boars were PCR negative. Based on spleen samples, the prevalence of piroplasms was significantly higher in red deer (41.7%) than in fallow deer (23.5%). Two genotypes of Theileria capreoli were identified, which showed significant association with their host species (i.e. genotype "capreoli-CE1" was exclusively found in roe deer, whereas red and fallow deer harbored only genotype "elaphi-CE1"). Genotype "elaphi-CE1" of T. capreoli was also detected in one mouflon. No Babesia spp. were identified. In conclusion, in the evaluated region, genotypes of T. capreoli show host-associations among cervids, and at least one of these genotypes may infect mouflons.

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