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Genetic diversity of Anaplasma marginale strains from cattle farms in the province of Palermo, Sicily.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.


Bovine anaplasmosis, caused by the tick-borne rickettsia Anaplasma marginale, is endemic in Sicily and results in economic loss to the cattle industry. This study was designed to characterize strains of A. marginale at the molecular level from cattle in the Province of Palermo, Sicily. Seropositivity of cattle >or=1 year old for A. marginale in the study area ranged from 62% to 100%. The observed prevalence of A. marginale infections in cattle herds ranged from 25% to 100%. Two predominant A. marginale msp4 genotypes were found. A positive correlation was found between the prevalence of infection and the presence of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus. Phylogenetic analysis of msp4 sequences of European strains of A. marginale did not provide phylogeographical information. These results suggest that development of farm husbandry systems and vaccines for genetically heterogeneous populations of A. marginale are needed for control of anaplasmosis in this region of Sicily.

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