Project Manager: Dr Ben Mans
Epidemiological research focus on understanding of occurrence and distribution of buffalo-derived T. parva (Corridor disease) and other
Theileria parasites of domestic and wildlife species.
A sound knowledge of the epidemiology of vectors and vector borne diseases is essential to develop integrated control measures required to reduce the impact of vector-borne diseases on livestock production. Theileriosis caused by
Theileria parva, carried by the Cape buffalo, is a controlled disease and the ARC-OVR currently has the sole mandate to assist Government to control this disease. Theileriosis outbreaks associated with buffalo contacts are on the increase since 1994. This is probably due to increased buffalo movement to supply flourishing eco-tourism. A major concern is the possibility of
T. parva parasite populations carried by buffalo, adapting to cattle, resulting in cattle recovering from Corridor disease developing a carrier state, which will infect vector ticks and spread the infection from cattle to cattle.
Development and validation of new diagnostic assays for vector-borne pathogens include serological tests for dourine (Trypanosoma equiperdum), molecular tests for canine piroplasmosis (Babesia gibsoni), bovine theileriosis (Theileria taurotragi,
Theileria sp. (sable)), equine piroplasmosis (Babesia caballi and
This is supported by serological and molecular diagnostics as well as genomics.
Theileria sp. buffalo and
Theileriasp.(Bougasvlei) genetically related to
Theileria sp. (sable) in cattle
Theileria parva carrier-state in cattle
Diagnostic tests: Problem of mixed infections (serological/PCR)
Equine piroplasmosis (Babesia caballi and Theileria equi)
Relationships to: vector ticks, host range, pathogenicity & virulence
Presence and extent
Demonstration by tick-pick up and transmission attempts under controlled conditions, biological and molecular characterization