Theileriosis (Cytauxzoonosis) in Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) : field exposure to infection and identification of potential vectors19 Jul 2012
Four hand-reared, naïve roan antelope, 4 months of age, were exposed to naturally infected pasture on a game farm in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, where roan are known to die from theileriosis. Various clinical parameters were recorded during this period. The predominant ticks parasitising these animals at the time (January to February), were Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi adults. After a period of 5 weeks the animals developed signs of clinical theileriosis and were treated with buparvaquone to prevent mortality. Primary hyperplasia of the local draining lymph nodes (Lnn. anorectales) near the feeding site of adult R. evertsi evertsi indicated possible transmission of Theileria sp. (sable) by this tick species. After recovery from theileriosis, these animals were confirmed carriers of Theileria sp. (sable) by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and DNA probe analysis. Laboratory-bred larvae and nymphs of R. evertsi evertsi and R. appendiculatus respectively, were fed on the ears of these roan antelope. Salivary glands from moulted and prefed adult ticks of each species were dissected and stained for Theileria spp., and the PCR and DNA probe applied to a representative batch of dissected glands. R. appendiculatus adults collected from grass in infected camps were also dissected after prefeeding them on rabbits. Salivary glands of both tick species showed infected acini on staining and were also positive for Theileria sp. (sable) only, on multiprotozoal PCR-screening analysis. There was no statistical significant difference between the infection rate and the intensity of infection between the two tick species. R. appendiculatus ticks collected from grass were also PCR-positive for Theileria sp. (sable).