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There is a significant influx of cattle to Nigeria from neighbouring countries on daily basis along the transboundary areas without any form of veterinary inspection or quarantine. An assessment of protozoan parasite load in the ticks infesting cattle entering the country by hooves through a major trans-boundary route in Ogun State was carried out using Polymerase Chain Reaction and sequencing. The prevalence of Babesia bovis and B. bigemina in Boophilus ticks was 14/92 (15.2%) and 16/92 (17.4%) respectively. There was no detectable band for the Trypanosoma species and Ehrlichia ruminantium specific PCR. The prevalence of B. bovis, B. bigemina and Theileria annulata in Rhipicephalus ticks were 6/22 (27.3%), 4/22 (18.2%) and 4/22 (18.2%) respectively. The Amblyomma and Hyalomma ticks screened were not positive for any of the parasites. This is the first report on protozoan parasites detected in ticks infesting cattle entering Nigeria through a major trans-boundary route in Nigeria. The study shows that cattle entering Nigeria from Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Niger Republic, Mali, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire are infested with adult ticks of various genera harbouring protozoan parasites that are pathogenic to cattle. Hence, we recommend that quarantine centres be established by government to screen and treat infected animals entering the country.
Keywords: Cattle, Nigeria, PCR, Protozoans, Ticks, Trans-Boundary Route