​​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 Theileria equi). ​ ​

T​his is supported by serological and molecular diagnostics as well as genomics.

Current research focus:

  • Theileria sp. buffalo and Theileriasp.(Bougasvlei) genetically related to T parva

  • Other 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


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