Molecular prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in sheep from Iraq
Background: Tick-borne diseases are widely distributed among animal populations and are responsible for significant economic losses. However, little attention has been offered for screening such infections world widely. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is among those neglected tick-borne pathogens, particularly in the developing countries.
Aim: This study was conducted to detect A. phagocytophilum infection among sheep in three governorates of Iraq (Babylon, Wasit, and Missan) and try to identify the potential tick vector responsible for A. phagocytophilum transmission among sheep in these analyzed regions.
Methods: A total of 297 blood samples and 103 ticks were collected and examined for A. phagocytophilum by polymerase chain reaction using specific primers amplifying partial sequence for msp4 gene.
Results: The results showed that about 14 out of 297 tested sheep were positive for A. phagocytophilum. There was no difference between A. phygocytophilum prevalence according to animal gender, age, and sampling period. Furthermore, our analysis showed that the main vectors of A. phagocytophilum: Ixodes scapularis, I. pacificus, or I. ricinus were not identified in three regions of Iraq (Rhipicephalus turanicus, Hyalomma anatolicum, and Hyalomma turanicum were identified).
Conclusion: These results highlight the importance of the survey of the tick-borne bacterial infections in Iraq and in the Middle East region in general.
Keywords: Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Iraq, Prevalence, Sheep, Ticks.