Epidemiological survey following oriental theileriosis outbreaks in Victoria, Australia, on selected cattle farms

Vet Parasitol. 2013 Nov 8;197(3-4):509-21. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2013.06.023. Epub 2013 Jul 4.


This study investigated Theileria orientalis following outbreaks of oriental theileriosis in cattle in the state of Victoria, Australia, from September 2010 to January 2012, using traditional and molecular methods of diagnosis. A questionnaire was used to collect epidemiological information from cattle farms. Blood samples (n=301), collected from individual symptomatic and asymptomatic cattle from 19 cattle farms, were examined for the presence of Theileria on stained blood smears and tested using a PCR-based approach, employing a region within the major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) gene as a marker. The microscopic examination of stained blood smears detected stages consistent with Theileria piroplasms in 28.1% (79/281) of the samples. PCR products were amplified from 70.8% (213/301) of the samples. Mutation scanning analysis of all amplicons displayed seven distinct profiles. Following the direct sequencing of representative amplicons, the genotypes ikeda, chitose, buffeli and type 5 were detected in 91.1%, 32.9%, 2.4% and 1.4% of 213 blood samples, respectively. The distribution of these four genotypes varied among the 19 farms; genotype ikeda was detected on all farms, whereas genotypes chitose, buffeli and type 5 were detected on 14, 3 and 2 farms, respectively. Mix infections with genotypes ikeda and chitose were common (21.6%). Survey results revealed that oriental theileriosis affected mainly beef cows of more than two years of age, prior to calving, and disease was associated with abortion and cow deaths. Future investigations should focus on developing improved tools for investigating and managing oriental theileriosis.

Keywords: Cattle; Epidemiology; Genetic variation; Major piroplasm surface protein gene; Single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP); Theileria orientalis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Commerce
  • Data Collection
  • Disease Outbreaks / veterinary*
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Theileria / classification*
  • Theileria / genetics
  • Theileriasis / epidemiology*
  • Transportation
  • Victoria / epidemiology