A Review on the Diagnostic and Control Challenges of Major Tick-Borne Haemoparasite Diseases of Cattle

Eyob Eshetu


The tick-borne diseases of livestock constitute a complex of several diseases; and their single common feature is that they can all be transmitted by different developmental stages of ticks.  Piroplasms (Babesia and Theileria species) and Anaplasma species are the cause, in cattle, of high morbidity and mortality, decreased meat and milk production, and an impediment to the upgrading of indigenous breeds of cattle and to the introduction of more productive, exotic breeds in the tropics and subtropics. Despite these facts, not much is known about the epidemiology and phylogeny of cattle piroplasms and anaplasmosis for many years. In the past two decades, for diagnostic purpose, new techniques such as PCR and Reverse line blot/RLB hybridization as well as advanced serological techniques (CFT, c-ELISA, Dot ELISA, IFAT, CAT and I-ELISA) have been developed. Since then, although their limitations like due to lack of specifity and sensitivity, these diagnostic techniques relatively made surveys and typing of piroplasms, anaplasmosis and other haemoparasites easier and more reliable  than the blood smears methods. The acute case of TBDs may be controlled by treatment, yet in most cases the controls of TBDs have been based primarily on intensive tick control using acaricides. Moreover, live vaccines for tick-borne diseases control have well-known limitations however for many countries they represent the only available means of disease control. Structural changes in the provision of veterinary services, associated with reduced budget allocations, economic and social changes in livestock production systems, increased costs of acaricides and labour, combined with the increasing incidence of acaricide resistance in ticks have led to a demand for more cost effective and sustainable approaches to the control of tick and of the disease they transmit. Thus, a federal regulation that pertain the interstate movement of TBDs carriers, effort invested in the research and development of high quality standardized diagnostic test, use of integrated control approaches and much greater emphasis to determine the economic importance of TBDs is needed.

Keywords: Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Control, Diagnostic challenges, Theileriosis

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