Molecular identification of tick-borne pathogens infecting cattle in Mymensingh district of Bangladesh reveals emerging species of Anaplasma and Babesia.
Tick-borne diseases are considered a major hindrance to the health and productive performance of cattle in Bangladesh. To elucidate the epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) in local cattle, a cross-sectional study was performed in the 12 subdistricts (Upazilas) of Mymensingh district in Bangladesh. Blood samples and ticks were collected from 384 clinically healthy cattle kept by 135 farmers from 96 randomly selected villages. DNA extracted from the blood samples was subsequently screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a Reverse Line Blot (RLB) hybridization assay using an in-house prepared chemiluminescence solution for the presence of Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, Babesia and Theileria spp. A total of 2,287 ticks were collected from 232 infested cattle (60.4%, 232/384) and identified morphologically as Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (n=1,432, 62.6%) and Haemaphysalis bispinosa (n=855; 37.4%). The RLB results demonstrated that the majority of the cattle (62.2%) were infected with at least one TBP. Theileria orientalis infections were most common (212/384, 55.2%) followed by infections with Anaplasma bovis (137/384, 35.67%), Anaplasma marginale (16/384, 4.17%), Babesia bigemina (4/384, 1.04%) and Babesia bovis (2/384, 0.52%). A previously uncharacterized Anaplasma sp. (Anaplasma sp. Mymensingh) and Babesia sp. (Babesia sp. Mymensingh), which are genetically closely related to Anaplasma platys and B. bigemina, were detected in 50 of 384 (13.0%) and 1 of 384 (0.3%) of the blood samples, respectively. Key risk factors for the occurrence of T. orientalis, A. marginale and Anaplasma sp. Mymensingh were identified. In conclusion, this study revealed that cattle in Mymensingh district are mainly infested with R. microplus and H. bispinosa ticks and may carry multiple TBPs. In addition, two previously uncharacterized pathogens were detected in the bovine blood samples. The pathogenicity of these species remains to be determined.