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Molecular detection and characterization of zoonotic Anaplasma species in domestic dogs in Lusaka, Zambia

Vlahakis, Pipina A., Chitanga, Simbarashe, Simuunza, Martin C., Simulundu, Edgar, Qiu, Yongjin, Changula, Katendi, Chambaro, Herman M., Kajihara, Masahiro, Nakao, Ryo, Takada, Ayato, Mweene, Aaron S.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases 2018 v.9 no.1 pp. 39-43
Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, blood sampling, citrate (si)-synthase, dogs, genes, morbidity, mortality, pathogens, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal RNA, screening, tick-borne diseases, ticks, South Africa, Zambia
Although tick-borne pathogens, Anaplasma platys and Anaplasma phagocytophilum are recognized as zoonotic agents associated with appreciable morbidity and mortality in dogs and humans worldwide, there is limited information on these infections in many African countries, including Zambia. The purpose of this study was to detect, identify and phylogenetically characterize Anaplasma species from dogs in Chilanga District in Lusaka Province, Zambia. A total of 301 blood samples were collected from apparently healthy and semi-confined dogs. Initial screening by polymerase chain reaction with specific primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene of Anaplasma species revealed that 9% (27/301) of our samples were positive. Subsequent sequence and phylogenetic analysis of a longer fragment of the 16S rRNA and citrate synthase (gltA) genes of four positive samples showed the presence of A. platys and an Anaplasma species, which was closely related to those detected in dogs in South Africa. This is the first report on molecular identification and characterization of canine-associated zoonotic Anaplasma species in Zambia.