Genotyping of Theileria parva populations in vaccinated and non-vaccinated cattle in Malawi

11 Apr 2022
Chatanga E, Ohari Y, Muleya W, Hayashida K, Sugimoto C, Katakura K, Nonaka N and Nakao R

Theileria parva is an apicomplexan protozoan parasite that causes bovine theileriosis (East Coast Fever; ECF) in central, eastern and southern Africa. In Malawi, ECF is endemic in the northern and central regions where it has negatively affected the development of dairy industry. Despite its endemic status the genetic population structure of T. parva in Malawi is currently unknown. To obtain an understanding of T. parva in Malawi, we performed population genetics analysis of T. parva populations in cattle vaccinated with the Muguga cocktail live vaccine and non-vaccinated cattle using mini- and microsatellite markers covering all the four T. parva chromosomes. The T. parva Muguga strain was included in this study as a reference strain. Linkage disequilibrium was observed when all samples were treated as a single population. There was sub-structuring among the samples as shown by the principal coordinate analysis. Majority of the samples clustered with the T. parva Muguga reference strain suggesting that the isolates in Malawi are closely related to the vaccine component, which support the current use of Muguga cocktail vaccine to control ECF. The clustering of samples from non-endemic southern region with those from endemic central region suggests expansion of the distribution of T. parva in Malawi.