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Prevalence of Hepatozoon and Sarcocystis spp. in rodents and their ectoparasites in Nigeria

Kamani, Joshua, Harrus, Shimon, Nachum-Biala, Yaarit, Gutiérrez, Ricardo, Mumcuoglu, Kosta Y., Baneth, Gad
Acta tropica 2018
Cricetomys, DNA, Hepatozoon felis, Mus musculus, Neotoma, Piroplasmida, Rattus norvegicus, Rattus rattus, Sarcocystis, blood sampling, ectoparasites, genes, nucleotide sequences, polymerase chain reaction, rats, ribosomal RNA, small mammals, Nigeria
Using polymerase chain reaction targeting the 18S rRNA gene and DNA sequencing the prevalence and diversity of Apicomplexa and Piroplasmida infections in rodents from Nigeria was studied. Overall, 13 of 194 (7.7%) rodent blood samples tested were positive for Hepatozoon spp. while 2 (1.0%) were positive for Sarcocystis dispersa. Hepatozoon spp. DNA was detected in all the rodent species tested except Neotoma spp., and was most prevalent (50%) in the African giant rat (Cricetomys gambianus), followed by Mus musculus (18.2%), Rattus rattus (6.3%) and Rattus norvegicus (4.1 %). The Hepatozoon spp. DNA sequences from the rodents were 98-100% identical to each other and to Hepatozoon spp. DNA sequence from small mammals deposited in GenBank. Five of the sequences from R. rattus (n = 2) and R. norvegicus (n = 3) were 98-99% identical to Hepatozoon felis (KY649442.1). Sarcocystis dispersa DNA was detected in one R. rattus (2.1%) and one R. norvegicus (0.8%). These findings suggest that rodents are involved in endemic cycles of Hepatozoon spp. and Sarcocystis spp. agents of veterinary importance.