Genetic characteristics of Theileria equi in zebras, wild and domestic donkeys in Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Yuval Gottlieb, Ori Arieli, Monica L. Mazuz, Roni King, Igal Horowitz, Amir Steinman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is an important tick-borne disease of equids, caused by Theileria equi and Babesia caballi. It is endemic in most parts of the world, including Israel, and has clinical and economic consequences. This study was set to evaluate the presence of EP parasites in domestic donkeys and in wild equids in Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). To assess subclinical EP infection in 98 domestic donkeys (Equus africanus asinus), 9 Asiatic wild donkeys (Equus hemionus), 8 zebras (Equus quagga), 7 African wild donkeys (Equus africanus) and 5 mules, were tested using PCR and qPCR. Positive samples were characterized by amplification and sequencing of a 1600 bp fragment of the 18S rRNA gene. Babesia caballi was not detected in any of the animals. Theileria equi was detected in 32% of the donkeys, 89% of Asiatic wild donkeys, 57% of African wild donkeys, 62% of zebras and none of the mules. Parasitemia was low in all of the positive samples. Risk factors associated with infection in donkeys included one farm (Kiryat Gat) and animal sex (male). The sequences of the 18S rRNA gene from domestic donkeys were all similar, and belonged to the T. equi genotype D, similar to the genotype sequenced from horses in the same area, while sequences from wild donkeys were unique and belonged to the T. equi genotype A. Verification of the T. equi genotype in zebras could not be concluded, suggesting major genetic variation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101286
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier GmbH

Keywords

  • Donkey
  • Israel
  • Palestinian authority
  • Theileria equi

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