Prevalence of hemoprotozoan parasites in small ruminants along a human-livestock-wildlife interface in western Uganda

Keneth Iceland Kasozi, Monica Namayanja, Alex Kiarie Gaithuma, Michael Mahero, Enock Matovu, Junya Yamagishi, Chihiro Sugimoto, Ewan MacLeod

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7 Scopus citations


Small ruminants are important to community livelihood in developing countries; however information on the role of hemoprotozoan parasites is scanty. The objective of the study was to determine hemoprotozoan parasitic prevalence in western Uganda and identify major areas associated with these infections. This was a cross sectional study conducted at the edge of Budongo Conservation Forest in Masindi district of western Uganda in which 712 small ruminants were sampled. Blood from the jugular vein was collected from caprines and ovines and placed in an EDTA tube, and transported to the laboratory for examination. Thin and thick smears were prepared and examined by microscopy for hemoprotozoan parasites, and DNA was extracted and examined by PCR for Trypanosoma spp. A total of 13 villages in Budongo sub-county were surveyed and the study showed that caprines were the major small ruminants of importance to the community. Prevalence of hemoprotozoan parasites was as follows; anaplasmosis (3.65%) > theileriosis (0.45%) > trypanosomiasis (0.15%) and babesiosis (0%) by microscopy. Infections were found in the young with the exception of Anaplasma spp. while coinfections of anaplasmosis and theileriosis were high. Molecular analysis showed an overall trypanosome prevalence of 9.27% (PCR), mainly due to Trypanosoma brucei and T. congolense forest. Villages with trypanosomiasis were found in lowlands and swamps. The current trypanosomiasis prevalence in small ruminants of Uganda was 10 times greater than that previously reported showing that the disease burden has increased overtime within Uganda. A prevalence of 0.14% (95% CI: 0.00, 0.78) for the SRA gene showed that small ruminants would be important reservoirs of infection to humans. Hemoprotozoan parasites are a threat to community livelihood in developing countries and the role of molecular diagnostic techniques in disease monitoring was re-emphasized by this study. Information on primary hosts involved in the propagation of hemoprotozoan parasites in Uganda would help streamline prospective disease surveillance and control efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100309
JournalVeterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission that supported KIK during his time on the International Animal Health program at the University of Edinburgh. We also acknowledge the support of the Biomedical Sciences Student Experience fund at the University of Edinburgh for the provision of a grant towards consumables, and the Center for Zoonosis Control at Hokkaido University Japan . Authors also wish to acknowledge the staff at Budongo Conservation Field Centre during community visits, as well as the farmers who agreed to participate in the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Infectious diseases in Uganda
  • Neglected diseases in Africa
  • SRA gene in small ruminants
  • Small ruminant health
  • Tropical medicine


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