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Transbound Emerg Dis. 2013 Nov;60 Suppl 2:113-8. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12148.

Coinfection of sheep with Anaplasma, Theileria and Babesia species in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq.

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Division of Veterinary Infection Biology and Immunology, Research Center Borstel, Borstel, Germany.


Infections of small ruminants with Anaplasma, Theileria and Babesia species are widely distributed in the old world and are of great economic impact. In Iraq, data on disease occurrence in sheep caused by above-mentioned infectious agents are scarce. This study provides information on various haemoparasitic agents infecting sheep in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, using molecular diagnostic tools. Altogether, 195 samples originating from three governorates in the Kurdistan Region, namely Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimaniya, were analysed. The following pathogens were identified: Anaplasma ovis (62.6%), Theileria ovis (14.35%), T. lestoquardi (7.7%), T. uilenbergi (5.6%) and Babesia ovis (1.5%). T. uilenbergi is detected for the first time in Iraq. Coinfection of sheep with different pathogens could be observed in this study, and it was found that 45 of 195 (23%) of the samples contained more than one pathogen. Even triple-positive samples were identified in 3% of the investigated animals. In conclusion, we confirm the coinfection of sheep with various haemoparasitic pathogen species in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Further investigations are needed to reveal the epidemiology of the diseases, the respective tick vectors, and, in the case of coinfection, pathogens' interaction and possible cross-protection.


Anaplasma; Babesia; Iraq; Theileria; coinfection; sheep

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