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Vet Parasitol. 2012 Jul 6;187(3-4):572-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.01.029. Epub 2012 Jan 28.

Molecular identification of tick-borne pathogens in Nigerian ticks.

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Parasitology Division, National Veterinary Research Institute, P.M.B. 01, Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria.


A molecular epidemiology investigation was undertaken in two Nigerian states (Plateau and Nassarawa) to determine the prevalence of pathogens of veterinary and public health importance associated with ticks collected from cattle and dogs using PCR, cloning and sequencing or reverse line blot techniques. A total of 218 tick samples, Amblyomma variegatum (N=153), Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus (N=45), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (N=20) were sampled. Pathogens identified in ticks included piroplasmids (Babesia spp., Babesia bigemina and Babesia divergens), Anaplasma marginale and Rickettsia africae. Piroplasmids were identified in A. variegatum, A. marginale was found in R. decoloratus, while R. africae was detected in all tick species examined. Ehrlichia spp. and Theileria spp. were not identified in any of the ticks examined. Of the 218 ticks examined, 33 (15.1%) contained pathogen DNA, with the presence of B. divergens and R. africae that are zoonotic pathogens of public health and veterinary importance. The variety of tick-borne pathogens identified in this study suggests a risk for the emergence of tick-borne diseases in domestic animals and humans, especially amongst the Fulani pastoralists in Plateau and Nassarawa states of Nigeria.

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