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Epidemiology and genetic diversity of Anaplasma ovis in goats in Corsica, France

Cabezas-Cruz, Alejandro, Gallois, Mélanie, Fontugne, Mélanie, Allain, Eléonore, Denoual, Myriam, Moutailler, Sara, Devillers, Elodie, Zientara, Stephan, Memmi, Marc, Chauvin, Alain, Agoulon, Albert, Vayssier-Taussat, Muriel, Chartier, Christophe
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 3
Anaplasma ovis, DNA, Rhipicephalus bursa, altitude, anaplasmosis, anemia, blood, crossbreds, dairy goats, eggs, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, excretion, feces, flocks, gastrointestinal nematodes, gastrointestinal system, genes, genetic variation, geographical distribution, goat diseases, hematocrit, paratuberculosis, pathogens, phylogeny, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, seroprevalence, spring, subtropics, surveys, ticks, Corsica, France
BACKGROUND: Anaplasma ovis is a major cause of small ruminant anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease mainly affecting small ruminants in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Due to health and production problems in dairy goat flocks in Corsica, France, and the demonstration of A. ovis infection in some animals, an extensive survey was conducted in the island in spring 2016. The aim of the survey was to determine the prevalence and geographical distribution of A. ovis infections in goats and ticks as well as possible relationships with anaemia and other health indicators. In addition, the genetic diversity of A. ovis was evaluated. METHODS: Blood and faecal samples were collected in 55 clinically healthy flocks (10 goats per flock) for A. ovis qPCR, haematocrit determination, paratuberculosis ELISA seropositivity and gastrointestinal nematode egg excretion quantification. Ticks were collected, identified and processed for A. ovis DNA detection. RESULTS: A high prevalence of A. ovis DNA detection was found at the individual (52.0%) and flock levels (83.6%) with a within-flock prevalence ranging between 0–100%. Rhipicephalus bursa was the only tick species collected on goats (n = 355) and the detection rate of A. ovis DNA in ticks was 20.3%. Anaplasma ovis DNA prevalence was higher in flocks located at an altitude above 168 m, in goats of Corsican/crossbred breed and in goats > 3 years-old. No relationship was found between A. ovis DNA detection at the individual or flock level and haematocrit, paratuberculosis seropositivity or gastrointestinal parasites. Positive A. ovis goat samples were used for amplification of gltA and msp4 genes for species confirmation and strain identification, respectively. Sequence and phylogenetic analysis of these genes confirmed the detection of A. ovis and allowed identification of six different strains of this pathogen (named Corsica 1-6 (COR1-6). While the msp4 sequence of strain COR1 had 100% identity with strains previously reported, COR2 to 6 were found to be novel strains. The strain COR1 was the most represented, corresponding to 94.6% of the msp4 sequences obtained. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed a relatively high genetic diversity of A. ovis associated with high bacterial prevalence in goats.