Protecting Livestock. Improving Human Lives

Molecular characterization and population genetics of Theileria parva in Burundi’s unvaccinated cattle: Towards the introduction of East Coast fever vaccine

Author: David Kalenzi Atuhaire, Walter Muleya, Victor Mbao, Joseph Niyongabo, Lionel Nyabongo, Deogratias Nsanganiyumwami, Jeremy Salt, Boniface Namangala, Antony Jim Musoke

Year: 2021

About this Publication:

Theileria parva (T. parva) is a protozoan parasite that causes East Coast fever (ECF). The disease is endemic in Burundi and is a major constraint to livestock development. In this study, the parasite prevalence in cattle in six regions namely; Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, Central and North Eastern was estimated. Furthermore, the sequence diversity of p67, Tp1 and Tp2 genes was assessed coupled with the population genetic structure of T. parva using five satellite markers. The prevalence of ECF was 30% (332/1109) on microscopy, 60% (860/1431) on ELISA and 79% (158/200) on p104 gene PCR. Phylogenetic analysis of p67 gene revealed that only allele 1 was present in the field samples. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of Tp1 and Tp2 showed that the majority of samples clustered with Muguga, Kiambu and Serengeti and shared similar epitopes. On the other hand, genetic analysis revealed that field samples shared only two alleles with Muguga Cocktail. The populations from the different regions indicated low genetic differentiation (FST = 0.047) coupled with linkage disequilibrium and non-panmixia. A low to moderate genetic differentiation (FST = 0.065) was also observed between samples and Muguga cocktail. In conclusion, the data presented revealed the presence of a parasite population that shared similar epitopes with Muguga Cocktail and was moderately genetically differentiated from it. Thus, use of Muguga Cocktail vaccine in Burundi is likely to confer protection against T. parva in field challenge trials.

Grant: PLSHL2

Subject Areas: Research and Development

Diseases: East Coast Fever



Cattle, East Coast Fever, Theileria parva



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