19 research outputs found

    A comparative study of single Theileria lestoquardi and mixed infections with Theileria ovis

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    Abstract Background Epidemiological surveys in Oman have revealed a high prevalence of the co-occurrence of the pathogenic Theileria lestoquardi and the non-pathogenic Theileria ovis among sheep in the Barka region, Oman. Our most recent data illustrated an interaction and reduced mortality risk in animals co-infected with T. lestoquardi and T. ovis, suggesting that the latter confers protection against pathogenicity of T. lestoquardi. The present study extends the above findings and examines disease outcomes; clinical markers, hematological parameters, and parasite density in mixed and single T. lestoquardi infections. Methods A total of 390 blood samples were collected from 16 sheep pens located in Barka, Oman between July and November 2019. Theileria spp. were detected and quantified using qPCR assay targeting 18S rRNA, and the extent of genetic diversity was estimated by a panel of T. lestoquardi specific micro- and mini-satellites. The association of some disease markers with the presence of Theileria spp. and genetic diversity was tested. Results Theileria spp. were detected in 75 (19.2%) sheep; of these 65 (86.7%) had mixed infections (T. lestoquardi plus T. ovis), 8 (10.6%) were infected with T. lestoquardi alone, and 2 (2.7%) with only T. ovis. Exotic breeds had a higher risk for Theileria spp. infection. The density (18S rRNA gene copies) of both parasites was higher in single infection against mixed infection, and there was a relatively lower density of T. lestoquardi in mixed infections. However, there was no difference in hematological indices between single T. lestoquardi and mixed infections. High genetic diversity was observed among T. lestoquardi in Barka, with no differences of T. lestoquardi in single and mixed infections. The extent of diversity seen in Barka was higher (He = 0.772) than that reported in Oman in 2019 (He = 0.582), with distinct T. lestoquardi genotypes. Conclusion The lower density of T. lestoquardi as mixed infection with T. ovis compared to single infection supports the hypothesis that T. ovis confers protection against lethal T. lestoquardi infection. However, there were no differences in disease correlations (clinical markers, hematological parameters, and density of parasites) or the extent of diversity of T. lestoquardi between the two types of infection. The presence of distinct T. lestoquardi genotypes in Barka, compared to that reported earlier in Oman, likely reflects movement of carrier animals and highlights the need for further analysis of the parasite populations to inform novel approaches for controlling malignant ovine theileriosis. Graphical Abstrac

    Influx of diverse, drug resistant and transmissible Plasmodium falciparum into a malaria-free setting in Qatar

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    Background: Successful control programs have impeded local malaria transmission in almost all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, a prodigious influx of imported malaria via migrant workers sustains the threat of local transmission. Here we examine the origin of imported malaria in Qatar, assess genetic diversity and the prevalence of drug resistance genes in imported Plasmodium falciparum, and finally, address the potential for the reintroduction of local transmission. Methods: This study examined imported malaria cases reported in Qatar, between 2013 and 2016. We focused on P. falciparum infections and estimated both total parasite and gametocyte density, using qPCR and qRT-PCR, respectively. We also examined ten neutral microsatellites and four genes associated with drug resistance, Pfmrp1, Pfcrt, Pfmdr1, and Pfkelch13, to assess the genetic diversity of imported P. falciparum strains, and the potential for propagating drug resistance genotypes respectively. Results: The majority of imported malaria cases were P. vivax, while P. falciparum and mixed species infections (P. falciparum / P. vivax) were less frequent. The primary origin of P. vivax infection was the Indian subcontinent, while P. falciparum was mostly presented by African expatriates. Imported P. falciparum strains were highly diverse, carrying multiple genotypes, and infections also presented with early- and late-stage gametocytes. We observed a high prevalence of mutations implicated in drug resistance among these strains, including novel SNPs in Pfkelch13. Conclusions: The influx of genetically diverse P. falciparum, with multiple drug resistance markers and a high capacity for gametocyte production, represents a threat for the reestablishment of drug-resistant malaria into GCC countries. This scenario highlights the impact of mass international migration on the reintroduction of malaria to areas with absent or limited local transmission

    Molecular surveillance of Theileria parasites of livestock in Oman

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    Background: Theileriosis is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases of livestock in the Arabian Peninsula, and causes high rates of mortality and morbidity in sheep and cattle. However, there is a paucity of information on the distribution of Theileria spp. over the whole region and their impact on different hosts. The present study carried out a country-wide molecular survey for Theileria spp. of livestock in Oman across four governorates. The aim of the survey was to define the prevalence of Theileria spp. in cattle, sheep and goats, highlight risk factors for infection and identify the main tick species involved in parasite transmission. Material and methods: A total of 2020 animals were examined in the survey consisting of sheep [n = 592], goats [n = 981] and cattle [n = 447]. All three species were raised and co-grazed on the same farms. Theileria parasites were detected using PCR-RFLP and RLB of the 18S rRNA gene. Cloning and sequencing of the 18S rRNA was carried out on 11 T. lestoquardi isolates from Ash-Sharqiyah, and Ad-Dhahira governorates, and phylogenetic relationships were inferred using additional sequences of T. lestoquardi, T. annulata and T. ovis available in GenBank. Results: Theileria spp. prevalence was 72.3%, 36.7% and 2.7% among cattle, sheep and goats, respectively. Strong similarity in results was obtained using RLB and PCR-RFLP for detection of Theileria spp. however, RLB detected a higher rate of mixed infection than PCR-RFPL (P < 0.001). Theileria annulata was the only parasite detected in cattle, while sheep and goats carried T. ovis, T. lestoquardi and T. annulata as well as Theileria spp. OT1. Of the four Theileria spp. detected in small ruminants, overall T. ovis was most prevalent (sheep [33.4%], goats [2.0%]), whereas T. lestoquardi was less prevalent (sheep [22.0%], goats [0.5%]). A large proportion of infected sheep (19%) carried mixed infection of T. ovis and T. lestoquardi. However, single T. lestoquardi infections (3.0%) were less prevalent than T. ovis infections (14.5%). Risk of Theileria spp. infection was significantly higher for exotic breeds, relative to native breeds, of cattle (p = 0.00002) and sheep (p = 0.005). Phylogenetic analysis placed T. lestoquardi in Oman in the same clade as other T. lestoquardi strains isolated from the same regional area (Iraq and Iran). The main tick species, identified on the examined animals, Hyalomma anatolicum, was widely distributed and was found in all of the surveyed governorates. Conclusion: Theileria spp. are widespread in Oman with variable prevalence detected in different regions. Two economically important hosts, cattle and sheep are at high risk from virulent T. annulata and T. lestoquardi, respectively. The survey indicates extensive exposure to ticks and transmission of infection that has a significant economic impact. The higher prevalence of T. lestoquardi as mixed rather than single infection requires further investigation

    Theileria lestoquardi in Sudan is highly diverse and genetically distinct from that in Oman

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    Malignant ovine theileriosis is a severe tick-borne protozoan disease of sheep and other small ruminants which is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The disease is of considerable economic importance in Sudan as the export of livestock provides a major contribution to the gross domestic product of this country. Molecular surveys have demonstrated a high prevalence of sub-clinical infections of Theileria lestoquardi, the causative agent, among small ruminants. No information is currently available on the extent of genetic diversity and genetic exchange among parasites in different areas of the country. The present study used a panel of T. lestoquardi specific micro- and mini-satellite genetic markers to assess diversity of parasites in Sudan (Africa) and compared it to that of the parasite population in Oman (Asia). A moderate level of genetic diversity was observed among parasites in Sudan, similar to that previously documented among parasites in Oman. However, a higher level of mixed-genotype infection was identified in Sudanese animals compared to Omani animals, consistent with a higher rate of tick transmission. In addition, the T. lestoquardi genotypes detected in these two countries form genetically distinct groups. The results of this work highlight the need for analysis of T. lestoquardi populations in other endemic areas in the region to inform on novel approaches for controlling malignant theileriosis

    Drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Oman: resistance-conferring mutations and lineage diversity

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    Background The Sultanate of Oman is country a low TB-incidence, with less than seven cases per 105 population detected in 2020. Recent years have witnessed a persistence in TB cases, with sustained incidence rate among expatriates and limited reduction among Omanis. This pattern suggests transmission from the migrant population. The present study examined the genetic profile and drug resistance-conferring mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis collected from Omanis and expatriates to recognise possible causes of disease transmission. Methods We examined M. tuberculosis cultured positive samples, collected from Omanis (n = 1,344) and expatriates (n = 1,203) between 2009 and 2018. These isolates had a known in vitro susceptibility profile to first line anti-TB, Streptomycin (SM), Isoniazid (INH), Rifampicin (RIF), Ethambutol (EMB) and Pyrazinamide (PZA). The diversity of the isolates was assessed by spacer oligo-typing (spoligotyping). Drug resistance-conferring mutations resulted from full-length sequence of nine genes (katG, inhA, ahpc, rpoB, rpsL, rrs, embB, embC, pncA) and their phenotypic relationship were analysed. Results In total, 341/2192 (13.4%), M. tuberculosis strains showed resistance to any drug, comprising mono-resistance (MR) (242, 71%), poly-resistance (PR) (40, 11.7%) and multi-drug resistance (MDR) (59, 17.3%). The overall rate of resistance among Omanis and expatriates was similar; however, MDR and PZAR were significantly higher among Omanis, while INHR was greater among expatriates. Mutations rpsL K43R and rpoB S450L were linked to Streptomycin (SMR) and Rifampicin resistance (RIFR) respectively. Whereas, katG S315T and inhA –C15T/G–17T were associated with Isoniazid resistance (INHR). The resistance patterns (mono-resistant, poly-resistant and MDR) and drug resistance-conferring mutations were found in different spoligo-lineages. rpsL K43R, katG S315T and rpoB S450L mutations were significantly higher in Beijing strains. Conclusions Diverse drug resistant M. tuberculosis strains exist in Oman, with drug resistance-conferring mutations widespread in multiple spoligo-lineages, indicative of a large resistance reservoir. Beijing’s M. tuberculosis lineage was associated with MDR, and multiple drug resistance-conferring mutations, favouring the hypothesis of migration as a possible source of resistant lineages in Oman

    Dynamics and within-host interaction of Theileria lestoquardi and T. ovis among naive sheep in Oman

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    Mixed species infections of Theileria spp. are common in nature. Experimental and epidemiological data suggest that mixed species infections elicit cross-immunity that can modulate pathogenicity and disease burden at the population level. The present study examined within-host interactions, over a period of 13 months during natural infections with two Theileria spp., pathogenic (T. lestoquardi) and non-pathogenic (T. ovis), amongst a cohort of naive sheep in Oman. In the first two months after exposure to infection, a high rate of mortality was seen among sheep infected with T. lestoquardi alone. However, subsequently mixed-infections of T. lestoquardi and T. ovis prevailed, and no further death occurred. The overall densities of both parasite species were significantly higher as single infection vs mixed infection and the higher relative density of pathogenic T. lestoquardi indicated a competitive advantage over T. ovis in mixed infection. The density of both species fluctuated significantly over time, with no difference in density between the very hot (May to August) and warm season (September to April). A high degree of genotype multiplicity was seen among T. lestoquardi infections, which increased with rising parasite density. Our results illustrate a potential competitive interaction between the two ovine Theileria spp., and a substantial reduction in the risk of mortality in mixed parasite infections, indicating that T. ovis confers heterologous protection against lethal T. lestoquardi infection

    Dynamics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Lineages in Oman, 2009 to 2018

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    Study aim. Effective Tuberculosis (TB) control measures in Oman have reduced the annual incidence of tuberculosis cases by 92% between 1981 and 2016. However, the current incidence remains above the program control target of <1 TB case per 100,000 population. This has been partly attributed to a high influx of migrants from countries with high TB burdens. The present study aimed to elucidate Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection dynamics among nationals and foreigners over a period of 10 years. Methods. The study examined TB cases reported between 2009 and 2018 and examined the spatial heterogeneity of TB cases and the distribution of M. tuberculosis genotypes defined by spoligotypes and MIRU-VNTR among Omanis and foreigners. Results. A total of 484 spoligoprofiles were detected among the examined isolates (n = 1295). These include 943 (72.8%) clustered and 352 (27.2%) unique isolates. Diverse M. tuberculosis lineages exist in all provinces in Oman, with most lineages shared between Omanis and foreigners. The most frequent spoligotypes were found to belong to EAI (318, 30.9%), CAS (310, 30.1%), T (154, 14.9%), and Beijing (88, 8.5%) lineages. However, the frequencies of these lineages differed between Omanis and foreigners. Of the clustered strains, 192 MTB isolates were further analysed via MIRU-VNTR. Each isolate exhibited a unique MIRU-VNTR profile, indicative of absence of ongoing transmission. Conclusions. TB incidence exhibits spatial heterogeneity across Oman, with high levels of diversity of M. tuberculosis lineages among Omanis and foreigners and sub-lineages shared between the two groups. However, MIRU-VNTR analysis ruled out ongoing transmission

    Theileria lestoquardi displays reduced genetic diversity relative to sympatric Theileria annulata in Oman

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    The Apicomplexan parasites, Theileria lestoquardi and Theileria annulata, the causative agents of theileriosis in small and large ruminants, are widespread in Oman, in areas where cattle, sheep and goats co-graze. Genetic analysis can provide insight into the dynamics of the parasite and the evolutionary relationship between species. Here we identified ten genetic markers (micro- and mini-satellites) spread across the T. lestoquardi genome, and confirmed their species specificity. We then genotyped T. lestoquardi in different regions in Oman. The genetic structures of T. lestoquardi populations were then compared with previously published data, for comparable panels of markers, for sympatric T. annulata isolates. In addition, we examined two antigen genes in T. annulata (Tams1 and Ta9) and their orthologues in T. lestoquardi (Tlms1 and Tl9). The genetic diversity and multiplicity of infection (MOI) were lower in T. lestoquardi (He = 0.64–0.77) than T. annulata (He = 0.83–0.85) in all populations. Very limited genetic differentiation was found among T. lestoquardi and T. annulata populations. In contrast, limited but significant linkage disequilibrium was observed within regional populations of each species. We identified eight T. annulata isolates in small ruminants; the diversity and MOI were lower among ovine/caprine compared to bovine. Sequence diversity of the antigen genes, Tams1 and Ta9 in T. annulata (π = 0.0733 and π = 0.155 respectively), was 10-fold and 3-fold higher than the orthologous Tlms1 and Tl9 in T. lestoquardi (π = 0.006 and π = 0.055, respectively). Despite a comparably high prevalence, T. lestoquardi has lower genetic diversity compared to sympatric T. annulata populations. There was no evidence of differentiation among populations of either species. In comparison to T. lestoquardi, T. annulata has a larger effective population size. While genetic exchange and recombination occur in both parasite species, the extent of diversity, overall, is less for T. lestoquardi. It is, therefore, likely that T. lestoquardi evolved from an ancestor of present day T. annulata and that this occurred either once or on a limited number of occasions

    Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of <i>Theileria annulata</i> in Oman

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    Background: Theileriosis, caused by a number of species within the genus Theileria, is a common disease of livestock in Oman. It is a major constraint to the development of the livestock industry due to a high rate of morbidity and mortality in both cattle and sheep. Since little is currently known about the genetic diversity of the parasites causing theileriosis in Oman, the present study was designed to address this issue with specific regard to T. annulata in cattle. Methods Blood samples were collected from cattle from four geographically distinct regions in Oman for genetic analysis of the Theileria annulata population. Ten genetic markers (micro- and mini-satellites) representing all four chromosomes of T. annulata were applied to these samples using a combination of PCR amplification and fragment analysis. The resultant genetic data was analysed to provide a first insight into the structure of the T. annulata population in Oman. Results: We applied ten micro- and mini-satellite markers to a total of 310 samples obtained from different regions (174 [56%] from Dhofar, 68 [22%] from Dhira, 44 [14.5%] from Batinah and 24 [8%] from Sharqia). A high degree of allelic diversity was observed among the four parasite populations. Expected heterozygosity for each site ranged from 0.816 to 0.854. A high multiplicity of infection was observed in individual hosts, with an average of 3.3 to 3.4 alleles per locus, in samples derived from Batinah, Dhofar and Sharqia regions. In samples from Dhira region, an average of 2.9 alleles per locus was observed. Mild but statistically significant linkage disequilibrium between pairs of markers was observed in populations from three of the four regions. In contrast, when the analysis was performed at farm level, no significant linkage disequilibrium was observed. Finally, no significant genetic differentiation was seen between the four populations, with most pair-wise FST values being less than 0.03. Slightly higher FST values (GST’ = 0.075, θ = 0.07) were detected when the data for T. annulata parasites in Oman was compared with that previously generated for Turkey and Tunisia. Conclusion: Genetic analyses of T. annulata samples representing four geographical regions in Oman revealed a high level of genetic diversity in the parasite population. There was little evidence of genetic differentiation between parasites from different regions, and a high level of genetic diversity was maintained within each sub-population. These findings are consistent with a high parasite transmission rate and frequent movement of animals between different regions in Oman

    Diversity and Genetic Structure of Theileria annulata in Pakistan and Other Endemic Sites

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    Background: Theileria annulata is a tick-borne protozoan parasite responsible for bovine theileriosis, a disease that impacts cattle population in many developing countries. Development and deployment of effective control strategies, based on vaccine or therapy, should consider the extent of diversity of the parasite and its population structure in different endemic areas. In this study, we examined T. annulata in Pakistan and carried out a comparative analysis with similar data garneted in other areas, to provide further information on the level of parasite diversity and parasite genetic structure in different endemic areas. Methods: The present study examined a set of 10 microsatellites/minisatellites and analyzed the genetic structure of T. annulata in cattle breeds from Pakistan (Indian sub-continent) and compared these with those in Oman (Middle East), Tunisia (Africa), and Turkey (Europe). Result: A high level of genetic diversity was observed among T. annulata detected in cattle from Pakistan, comparable to that in Oman, Tunisia, and Turkey. The genotypes of T. annulata in these four countries form genetically distinct groups that are geographically sub-structured. The T. annulata population in Oman overlapped with that in the Indian Subcontinent (Pakistan) and that in Africa (Tunisia). Conclusions: The T. annulata parasite in Pakistan is highly diverse, and genetically differentiated. This pattern accords well and complements that seen among T. annulata representing the global endemic site. The parasite population in the Arabian Peninsula overlapped with that in the Indian-Subcontinent (India) and that in Africa (Tunisia), which shared some genotypes with that in the Near East and Europe (Turkey). This suggests some level of parasite gene flow, indicative of limited movement between neighboring countries