12 research outputs found

    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

    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

    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

    Linkage equilibrium among <i>T</i>. <i>annulata</i> populations in Oman and comparison of parasites in Oman, Tunisia and Turkey.

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    <p>To test the hypothesis of geographical sub-structuring, the I<sup>S</sup><sub>A</sub>, V<sub>D</sub> and L values were calculated separately for samples in each region. The I<sup>S</sup><sub>A</sub> value for Dhira, Sharqia and Dhofar was 0.0219, 0.0337 and 0.023, respectively. The V<sub>D</sub> values were greater than the L value, indicating LD in all regions (Dhira, Sharqia and Dhofar) except Batinah.</p><p>Linkage equilibrium among <i>T</i>. <i>annulata</i> populations in Oman and comparison of parasites in Oman, Tunisia and Turkey.</p

    Locations of collection sites in four regions in Oman; below table represent geographical distance matrix in km between regions.

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    <p>The study field surveys and samples collection were carried out in accordance with the regulations of the Sultan Qaboos University Committee for Animal Ethics. The field surveys did not involve endangered or protected animal species: blood samples were collected by a veterinarian while animals were manually restrained; no tranquillisers or short-acting anaesthetics were used. Appropriate equipment was used for blood sample collection. No institutional approval was needed, as per Sultan Qaboos University ethics committee such an approval is only required for small animals. The sampling procedures and number of animals to be sampled were approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Oman, as part of obtaining the field permit.</p