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Detection and discrimination of Theileria species infection by using PCR amplification in small ruminants in and around Multan, Pakistan

By: Muhammad Riaz, ZahidaTasawar

Key Words: DNA Extraction, PCR, Theileria lestoquardi, Theileria ovis, Sheep and goats.

Int. J. Biosci. 9(4), 61-71, October 2016.



The present study was carried out to determine prevalence of Theilera species infection and risk factors involved in spread of theileriosis in sheep and goats in and around Multan, Southern Punjab, Pakistan. A total of 200 blood samples were collected from apparently healthy small ruminants comprising sheep (n=161) and goats (n=39) from different sampling sites of Multan, Pakistan, from randomly selected herds. Data on animal characteristics i.e. species, age, gender as well as herd characteristics was collected from through questionnaires. Microscopic examination revealed 7.0% blood samples positive while PCR DNA amplification revealed 22.5% samples positive for Theileria species infection which produced 1098 base pairs DNA fragment of 18S ssu rRNA. Sheep were found significantly (P < 0.05) more infected with theileriosis (17.5%) than goats i.e. (5.0%). 12.5% blood samples produced 785 base pairs DNA fragment considered positive for T. lestoquardi while 6.0% samples produced 520 base pairs DNA fragment considered positive for T. ovis . Theileria lestoquardi infection was found 11.8% and 15.3% while T. ovis infection was found 5.6% and 7.7% in sheep and goats respectively (P < 0.05). Mixed herds (containing both sheep and goats) and herds having animals with age group ≤ 1 year are at more risk of Theileria piroplasmic infection. The present study revealed PCR is more reliable diagnostic tool for theileriosis in small ruminants and can be used for screening of Theileria infection in order to improve the livestock production in Pakistan.


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