PCR detection of Ehrlichia ruminantium and Babesia bigemina in cattle from Kwara State, Nigeria: unexpected absence of infection

Parasitol Res. 2019 Mar;118(3):1025-1029. doi: 10.1007/s00436-019-06204-1. Epub 2019 Jan 17.


Ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) continue to pose an insidious and ever-present threat to livestock and livelihoods across the globe. Two of the most significant TBDs of cattle in Africa are heartwater and babesioisis, caused by Ehrlichia ruminantium and Babesia bigemina respectively. Both pathogens are endemic in Nigeria. However, to date, little data has been published regarding the number of cattle infected. In this study, blood samples were collected from cattle of the Kwara State, north-central Nigeria. Probe-based quantitative PCR (qPCR) and semi-nested PCR were used to investigate the presence of both pathogens, respectively. Our study found all samples (n = 157) to be surprisingly negative for both B. bigemina and E. ruminantium. These results contribute new information on the current burden of these two pathogens in Kwara State and may be helpful in informing more effective targeting of control strategies in Nigeria.

Keywords: Babesia bigemina; Ehrlichia ruminantium; Nigeria; Semi-nested PCR; Tick-borne diseases; qPCR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Babesia / classification
  • Babesiosis / epidemiology
  • Babesiosis / parasitology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology*
  • Ehrlichia ruminantium / isolation & purification*
  • Heartwater Disease / diagnosis*
  • Heartwater Disease / epidemiology
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction