Title page for ETD etd-01032011-141014

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Bosman, Anna-Mari
URN etd-01032011-141014
Document Title Detection of Babesia species in domestic and wild Southern African felids by means of DNA probes
Degree MSc
Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases
Advisor Name Title
Prof E H Venter Co-Supervisor
Prof B LPenzhorn Supervisor
  • Babesia felis
  • South Africa
  • domestic cats
  • DNA
  • Babesia species
Date 2010-11-26
Availability unrestricted

Feline babesiosis, first described in domestic cats in South Africa in 1937, is regarded to be of great importance in the coastal regions although isolated cases also occur on the eastern highlands of Mpumalanga Province. Babesia felis (described from domestic cats) and B. leo (described from lions) are the two best characterised Babesia species in felids. These two parasites are morphologically similar when examined under a light microscope, but are serologically and genetically distinct. In this study the prevalence of these two Babesia species in various wild and domestic felid species was determined. A total of 358 samples were tested using the reverse line blot hybridization (RLB) assay. This assay makes it possible to simultaneously detect and differentiate between blood parasites using DNA probes. The RLB consists of three basic steps, the first being amplification of the variable region (V4) in the 18S rRNA gene using genus-specific primers where one is labelled with biotin. This is followed by a blotting step, where the amplicons are hybridized to oligonucleotides bound to a nitrocellulose membrane. The third and last step is the detection of the hybridized amplicons by using chemiluminescence reagents. This assay is a screening tool utilizing the variable (V4) region in the 18S rRNA gene to detect and differentiate between blood parasites. A new B. felis-specific DNA probe was developed to use in the RLB assay. Results demonstrated that these two parasites not only occur in the felid species from which they have been described, but also in other felid species. Babesia microti was also detected in various felid species, while B. rossi was detected in 1 of the lion samples. Two hundred and twelve samples tested positive for Babesia spp., of which only 54.24% of the samples reacted with the genus-specific probe. This indicates the presence of a novel Babesia or Theileria species or variant of a species.

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Please cite as follows:

Bosman, A-M 2010, Detection of Babesia species in domestic and wild Southern African felids by means of DNA probes, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-01032011-141014/ >


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