Original Research

Parasites of veterinary importance from domestic animals in uMkhanyakude district of KwaZulu-Natal province

Lehlohonolo S. Mofokeng, Oriel M. Taioe, Nico J. Smit, Oriel M.M. Thekisoe
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 91 | a2023 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v91i0.2023 | © 2020 Lehlohonolo S. Mofokeng, Oriel M. Taioe, Nico J. Smit, Oriel M.M. Thekisoe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 September 2019 | Published: 13 July 2020

About the author(s)

Lehlohonolo S. Mofokeng, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Oriel M. Taioe, National Zoological Garden, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Nico J. Smit, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Oriel M.M. Thekisoe, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

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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