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Apparent lack of a domestic animal reservoir in Gambiense sleeping sickness in northwest Uganda

Balyeidhusa, Apollo Simon Peter, Kironde, Fred Alexander Sekaza, Enyaru, John Charles Kiboko
Veterinary parasitology 2012 v.187 no.1-2 pp. 157-167
African trypanosomiasis, DNA, Glossina morsitans, Trypanosoma gambiense, analysis of variance, blood sampling, cattle, centrifugation, confidence interval, dogs, genes, glycoproteins, goats, hematocrit, humans, mixed infection, parasites, polymerase chain reaction, sheep, swine, Uganda
The role played by domestic animals in the transmission of gambiense Human African Trypanosomosis remains uncertain. Northwest Uganda is endemic for Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. Of the 3267 blood samples from domestic animals in four counties examined by hematocrit centrifugation technique (HCT), 210 (6.4%) were positive for trypanosomes. The prevalence of animal trypanosomosis was estimated at 13.8% in Terego County, 4.2% in East Moyo County, 3.1% in Koboko County, and zero in West Moyo County. The trypanosome infection rates varied from 0.2% in goats, 3.5% in dogs, 5.0% in sheep, 7.5% in cattle, to 15.5% in pigs. DNA was extracted from the blood samples by Chelex method, Sigma and Qiagen DNA extraction Kits. A total of 417(12.8%) DNA samples tested positive by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using T. brucei species specific primers (TBR) indicating that the DNA was of Trypanozoon trypanosomes while 2850 (87.2%) samples were TBR–PCR negative. The T. brucei infection rates based on TBR–PCR were highest in pigs with 21.7%, followed by cattle (14.5%), dogs (12.4%), sheep (10.8%), and lowest in goats with 3.2%, which indicated that pigs were most bitten by infected tsetse than other domestic animals. TBR–PCR detected 6.3% more infected domestic animals that had been missed, and confirmed the 6.4% cases detected by HCT in the field. Statistical analysis done using one-way ANOVA Kruskal–Wallis test (Prism version 5.0) showed no significant difference in trypanosome infections among domestic animals using both HCT and TBR–PCR techniques in the different counties (Confidence Interval of 95%, p-values >0.05). All the 417 trypanosome DNA samples were negative by PCR using two sets of primers specific for the T. b. gambiense specific glycoprotein gene and serum resistance associated gene of T. b. rhodesiense, indicating that they were probably not from the two human infective trypanosomes. Polymerase chain reaction using primers based on ribosomal internal transcribed spacer-1 region (ITS–PCR) resolved the 417 DNA of trypanosome samples into 323 (77.5%) as single trypanosome infections due to T. brucei and 39 (9.4%) mixed infections but missed detecting 55 (13.1%) samples, possibly because of the low sensitivity of ITS–PCR as compared to TBR–PCR. The 31 mixed infections were due to T. brucei (T.b) and T. vivax (T.v); while 8 mixed infections were of T. congolense (T.c) and T. brucei but no mixed trypanosome infections with T. congolense, T. brucei, and T. vivax were detected. Statistical analysis done using one way ANOVA Kruskal–Wallis test (Prism version 5.0) to compare single and mixed trypanosome infections showed no significant difference in trypanosome infections due to single (T.v, T.b, T.c) and mixed (T.v+T.b; T.v+T.c; T.b+T.c; T.v+T.b+T.c) trypanosome species among domestic animals in the different counties using ITS–PCR technique (Confidence Interval of 95%, p-values >0.05). It was concluded that domestic animals in northwest Uganda were probably not reservoirs of T. b. gambiense and there was no infection, as yet, with T. b. rhodesiense parasites.