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Molecular detection and characterization of Theileria infection in cattle and yaks from Tibet Plateau Region, China


Theileriosis continues to threaten the livestock industry worldwide, but comprehensive epidemiological surveys for this disease have not been conducted in the Tibet Plateau Region, China. In this study, we screened 154 cattle blood samples from the Tibet Plateau Region (Lhasa, Lhoka, and Tianzhu), China, for detection of Theileria pathogens by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with species-specific primers. The results revealed that the prevalence was 6.9 % (2/29) for Theileria orientalis and 27.6 % (8/29) for Theileria sinensis in Lhasa, 0 % (0/30) for T. orientalis and 26.7 % (8/30) for T. sinensis in Lhoka, and 0 % (0/95) for T. orientalis and 30.5 % (29/95) for T. sinensis in Tianzhu. Interestingly, Theileria luwenshuni, which was a previously reported pathogenic Theileria sp. in sheep and goats, was detected in blood samples from cattle and yaks for the first time, with a prevalence of 10 % (3/30) in Lhoka and 1.1 % (1/95) in Tianzhu. No other Theileria sp. was detected in these samples. T. sinensis and T. orientalis infections were detected in cattle and yaks, and T. luwenshuni was discovered for the first time in cattle and yaks in the Tibet Plateau Region, China.

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The research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31272556, 31372432, 31101621, 31201899, 31402189, and 31471967), ASTIP, FRIP (2014ZL010), CAAS; “948” (2014-S05), NBCIS (CARS-38), Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Research (No. 201303035, 2015CB150300), MOA, 973 Program (2010CB530206), Supporting Program (2013BAD12B03, 2013BAD12B05), Specific Fund for Sino-Europe Cooperation, MOST, China, State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology Project. The research was also facilitated by CRP No. 16198/R0 IAEA, Creative Research Groups of Gansu Province (No. 1210RJIA006). We thank International Science Editing for help in modifying the paper.

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Correspondence to Youquan Li or Hong Yin.

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Qin, G., Li, Y., Liu, J. et al. Molecular detection and characterization of Theileria infection in cattle and yaks from Tibet Plateau Region, China. Parasitol Res 115, 2647–2652 (2016).

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  • Theileria
  • Detection
  • Cattle
  • Yak
  • Tibet Plateau