In search of the vector(s) of Babesia rossi in Nigeria: molecular detection of B. rossi DNA in Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks collected from dogs, circumstantial evidence worth exploring
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The brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus (sensu lato) (Acari: Ixodidae) has a cosmopolitan distribution, is a proven vector of a host of pathogens with emerging evidence incriminating it in the transmission of some others. Specifically it is reputed as the main vector of Babesia vogeli whereas the southern African yellow dog tick Haemaphysalis elliptica, long considered to be H. leachi, is apparently the only proven vector of B. rossi, since the resurrection of the separate species H. elliptica as a member of the leachi-group by Apanaskevich et al. However, recent epidemiological surveys conducted in Nigeria show higher prevalence of B. rossi than B. vogeli infection in dogs most of whom were infested with R. sanguineus and rarely with ticks of the H. leachi group. The discrepancy between tick distribution and Babesia spp. prevalent in dogs stimulated us to investigate the possible role of R. sanguineus (s.l.) in the natural transmission of B. rossi. Out of a total of 66 tick samples identified morphologically and molecularly as R. sanguineus collected from dogs manifesting clinical signs of tick-borne diseases, eight (12%) were positive in nested PCR for Babesia sp. DNA. Sequencing results for these amplified products showed that all of the 18S rDNA sequences (693 bp) were identical to each other, and bore 99.3–99.9% identities with those from other B. rossi isolates accessible in GenBank. None of the ticks harbored the DNA of B. vogeli or B. canis. The possible implications for the detection of B. rossi DNA in R. sanguineus (s.l.) ticks collected from dogs in the epidemiology of B. rossi infection of dogs in Nigeria is highlighted.
KeywordsBabesia rossi Vector Rhipicephalus sanguineus (s.l.) Haemaphysalis elliptica Dog Nigeria PCR
We are grateful to the staff, Parasitology Division, National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom for technical support. This work was financially supported in part by the Taiwanese government through the research grant to National Chung Hsing University (NCHU-CC98116).
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