Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Characterization of Theileria species by PCR using specific target sequences.

Abstract

Theileriosis is an infectious disease in tropical countries and in the Mediterranean area. It is caused by Theileria, a haemoprotozoan, transmitted by vectors belonging to the Ixodidae. In southern Italy and in Sicily the infection is due mainly to T. annulata, but in some cases other species are involved in the disease. The authors describe a method to identify theileriosis in cattle blood samples, using PCR and hybridization techniques. Different primer sets were used to amplify different DNA target sequences, both genus and species specific. Blood samples from cattle were collected in Sicily. The DNA extracted from blood samples was employed first to detect the presence of the 18S ribosomal subunit gene specific for Theileria. The positive samples were analysed to identify the species, T. annulata or T. buffeli/orientalis, using as target sequences for amplification, respectively, a fragment of the TAMS-1 and p33/34 antigen genes. T. buffeli/orientalis infection is reported for the first time in Sicilian herds; 66% of positive blood samples were infected with T. buffeli/orientalis infected.