First molecular evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in goats, sheep, cattle and camels in Tunisia
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Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Ecole Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia
Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, Université de Carthage, Tunisia
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Italy
Laboratoire de Biotechnologie et Valorisation des Bio-Géo Ressources, Institut Supérieur de Biotechnologie de Sidi Thabet, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia
Ann Agric Environ Med 2016;23(3):442–447
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) are tick-transmitted spirochaetes of veterinary and human importance. Molecular epidemiology data on ruminants are still lacking in most countries of the world. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the rate of B. burgdorferi s.l. infection in ruminants from Tunisia. A total of 1,021 ruminants (303 goats, 260 sheep, 232 cattle and 226 camels) from different bioclimatic areas in Tunisia were investigated for the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. DNA in blood by real time PCR. Prevalence rates were 30.4% (92/303) in goats, 6.2% (16/260) in sheep, 1.3% (3/232) in cattle, and 1.8% (4/226) in camels. Only tick species belonging to Rhipicephalus and Hyalomma genera were found on the investigated animals. In small ruminants, the prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l. varied significantly according to localities and farms. Goats located in humid areas were statistically more infected than those located in sub-humid areas. Prevalence rates varied significantly according to age and breed in sheep, and age and tick infestation in goats. This study provides the first insight into the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. DNA in ruminants in Tunisia, and demonstrates that host species such as goats and sheep may play an important role in natural Lyme disease cycles in this country.
Lilia Messadi   
Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Ecole Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia
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