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|Molecular detection of Theileria, Babesia, and Hepatozoon spp. inixodid ticks from Palestine
|Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases
|tIxodid ticks transmit various infectious agents that cause disease in humans and livestock worldwide.A cross-sectional survey on the presence of protozoan pathogens in ticks was carried out to assess theimpact of tick-borne protozoa on domestic animals in Palestine. Ticks were collected from herds withsheep, goats and dogs in different geographic districts and their species were determined using morpho-logical keys. The presence of piroplasms and Hepatozoon spp. was determined by PCR amplification of a460–540 bp fragment of the 18S rRNA gene followed by RFLP or DNA sequencing. A PCR-RFLP methodbased on the 18S rRNA was used in order to detect and to identify Hepatozoon, Babesia and Theileria spp.A total of 516 ticks were collected from animals in six Palestinian localities. Five tick species were found:Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, Rhipicephalus turanicus, Rhipicephalus bursa, Haemaphysalis parvaand Haemaphysalis adleri. PCR-based analyses of the ticks revealed Theileria ovis (5.4%), Hepatozoon canis(4.3%), Babesia ovis (0.6%), and Babesia vogeli (0.4%). Theileria ovis was significantly associated with ticksfrom sheep and with R. turanicus ticks (p < 0.01). H. canis was detected only in R. sanguineus s.l. and wassignificantly associated with ticks from dogs (p < 0.01).To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the presence of these pathogens in ticks collectedfrom Palestine. Communicating these findings with health and veterinary professionals will increasetheir awareness, and contribute to improved diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases.
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