Molecular genotyping reveals mixed bovine and human trypanosomiasis in cattle from West Africa

Vet World. 2023 Jan;16(1):149-153. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2023.149-153. Epub 2023 Jan 23.


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Animal trypanosomiasis is a major contributor to agricultural and economic losses, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We have shown that some animal species expressed genes that are significant players in immune response to bovine trypanosomosis, impeding signs and symptoms of the disease. We hypothesize that such animals are contributors to disease transmission dynamics and severe outcomes. Therefore, this study aims to ascertain trypanosome species diversity in cattle and their potential role as reservoirs for the transmission of human disease.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a molecular genotyping of trypanosome internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS-1) and 18S ribosomal RNA genes on genomic DNA extracts from randomly sampled N’Dama cattle from slaughterhouses in Nigeria. We identified trypanosome species circulating among the animals through polymerase chain reaction and genomic sequencing. We performed multiple sequence alignments as well as conducted a phylogenetic relationship between identified species.

RESULTS: In all, 9 of 127 (7.1%) samples were positively amplified (band sizes ranging from 250 bp to 710 bp), including an isolate with two distinct bands (700 and 710 bp), indicating two trypanosome types. Sequence similarity and homology analysis identified four species, namely: Trypanosoma vivax, Trypanosoma congolense forest type, T. congolense savannah type, and Trypanosoma brucei. Interestingly, one of the bands, additionally verified by nucleotide sequencing, was identified as a human trypanosome (Trypanosoma brucei gambiense), confirming our hypothesis that cattle are potential reservoir hosts for human trypanosomes.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we observed different trypanosome species in our study area, with animals on the same farm infected with multiple species, which could complicate treatment and disease control strategies. Finding human trypanosome species strengthens the argument that disease transmission dynamics are modulated by other vertebrates, further complicating control programs.

PMID:36855345 | PMC:PMC9967721 | DOI:10.14202/vetworld.2023.149-153


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