Molecular detection of Theileria spp. and Babesia ovis Infection in Sheep in Baneh, Iran


Gh. Habibi 1 , * , E. Sepahvand-Mohammadi 2 , A. Afshari 1 , S. Bozorgi 1

1 Department of Parasite Vaccine Research and Production, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran

2 Student, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Karaj, Iran

How to Cite: Habibi G, Sepahvand-Mohammadi E, Afshari A, Bozorgi S. Molecular detection of Theileria spp. and Babesia ovis Infection in Sheep in Baneh, Iran, Arch Razi Inst. 2020 ; 75(2):e106966. doi: 10.22092/ari.2019.125136.1297.


Archives of Razi Institute: 75 (2); 289-296
Published Online: June 01, 2020
Article Type: Case Report
Received: June 28, 2020
Accepted: June 16, 2019


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the Theileria and Babesia infection in sheep using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in Baneh, Iran. Theileria and Babesia are apicomplexan parasites that have both vertebral and invertebrate hosts. These protozoa, which are transmitted by tick vectors, are considered to be the most important causes of parasitic diseases in Iran.The detection methods of Babesia and Theileria spp. are morphological examination, serology tests, and more recently, molecular assays, such as PCR.  In this study, a total of 66 blood samples were collected and analyzed using specific primers for Theileria annulataT. ovisT. lestoquardi, and Babesia ovis. Two PCR methods were used, namely semi-nested PCR and competitive PCR. Based on the results of the PCR assay of 66 sheep blood samples, B. ovis, T. ovis, T. lestoquardi, and T. annulata were detected in 57 (86.4%), 28 (42.4%), 0, and 16 (24%) cases, respectively. Detection of low levels of protozoan infection with high morbidity in the tested animals shows their status as a carrier that keeps the infection in the region and extends the protozoan life cycle. Another important factor is the geographical situation of Baneh as a border city since the hemoprotozoan infection is present in this region. Moreover, piroplasmida infection was found in Iraq and other neighboring provinces. Therefore, animal husbandry in Baneh is at the risk of infection with Babesia and Theileria. The collected data in this study are useful for reaching a better understanding of the epizootiology of theileriosis and babesiosis, in order to control and prevent the diseases in this region. 


© 2020, Author(s). Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute.