Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Ticks and tick-borne pathogens associated with dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in northern Kenya

Version 1 : Received: 4 June 2021 / Approved: 7 June 2021 / Online: 7 June 2021 (12:39:26 CEST)

How to cite: Getange, D.; Bargul, J.L.; Kanduma, E.; Collins, M.; Bodha, B.; Denge, D.; Chiuya, T.; Githaka, N.; Younan, M.; Fèvre, E.M.; Bell-Sakyi, L.; Villinger, J. Ticks and tick-borne pathogens associated with dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in northern Kenya. Preprints 2021, 2021060170 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0170.v1). Getange, D.; Bargul, J.L.; Kanduma, E.; Collins, M.; Bodha, B.; Denge, D.; Chiuya, T.; Githaka, N.; Younan, M.; Fèvre, E.M.; Bell-Sakyi, L.; Villinger, J. Ticks and tick-borne pathogens associated with dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in northern Kenya. Preprints 2021, 2021060170 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0170.v1).

Abstract

Ticks and tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) are major constraints to camel health and production, yet epidemiological data on their diversity and impact on dromedary camels are limited. We sur-veyed the diversity of ticks and TBPs associated with camels and co-grazing sheep at 12 sites in Marsabit County, northern Kenya. We screened blood and ticks (858 pools) collected from 296 camels and 77 sheep for bacterial and protozoan TBPs by high-resolution melting analysis and sequencing of PCR products. Hyalomma (75.7%), Amblyomma (17.6%) and Rhipicephalus (6.7%) spp. ticks were morphologically identified and confirmed by molecular analyses. We detected TBP DNA in 80.1% of blood samples from 296 healthy camels. “Candidatus Anaplasma camelii”, “Candidatus Ehrlichia regneryi” and Coxiella burnetii were detected in both camels and associ-ated ticks, and Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Rickettsia africae, Rickettsia aeschlimannii and Coxiella endo-symbionts were detected in camel ticks. We also detected Ehrlichia ruminantium, responsible for heartwater disease in ruminants, in Amblyomma ticks infesting camels and sheep and in sheep blood, indicating its endemicity in Marsabit. Our findings also suggest that camels and/or the ticks infesting them are reservoirs of zoonotic Q fever (C. burnetii), ehrlichiosis (E. chaffeensis), and rickettsiosis (R. africae), which pose a public health threat to pastoralist communities.

Subject Areas

dromedary camels, ticks, heartwater, zoonosis, tick-borne pathogens, Anaplasma, Coxiella, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia

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