A PCR-based Survey of Animal African Trypanosomosis and Selected Piroplasm Parasites of Cattle and Goats in Zambia
Musinguzi, Simon Peter
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We screened cattle and goats from the districts of Chama, Monze and Mumbwa in Zambia for animal African trypanosomes, Babesia bigemina and Theileria parva using PCRs; 38.1% of the samples tested positive for at least one of the parasite species. The most common parasite was Trypanosoma vivax (19.8%). Its incidence was significantly higher in goats than in cattle, (P<0.05). B. bigemina was found in samples from all the three areas, making it the most widespread of the parasites in Zambia. Among the tested samples, 12.0% of the positive samples were mixed infections. There were significant differences in the infection rates of T. vivax (Mumbwa had a significantly higher infection rate [39.6%, P<0.0001]), Th. parva (Monze had the only cases [P<0.0004]) and B. bigemina (Monze had a significantly higher infection rate [40.5%, P<0.0001]). According to the hematocrit values, the packed cell volume (%) among the cattle with mixed infections was significantly lower than that of the other cattle. The presence of multiple parasite species and mixed infections among the Zambian cattle and goat populations is of both clinical and economic importance to livestock farming. The absence of trypanosomosis among the samples from Monze can be attributed to tsetse eradication efforts that took place around Lake Kariba. This shows that the prevention and control of these parasitic diseases can have a significant impact on the disease status, which can translate directly into the improvement of the livestock sector in Zambia.