Molecular Detection of Theileria ovis and Theleiria equi in Livestock from Palestine
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Theileria and Babesia are intracellular protozoan parasites infecting a wide range of animals. In Palestine, there is limited information on the prevalence of Theileria and Babesia spp. in livestock. We used PCR of the 18S ribosomal RNA gene followed by DNA sequencing to detect and identify parasite DNA in blood samples from sheep (n = 49), goats (n = 48), horses (n = 40), camels (n = 34), donkeys (n = 28) and mules (n = 2) from four districts of Palestine. DNA of T. ovis and T. equi was detected in 19 and 2 ovine blood samples, respectively. None of the camels, donkeys, and goats were positive for T. ovis. Sheep had a significantly higher rate of infection than other animals (P < 0.05). Theileria ovis is highly prevalent in sheep, while T. equi DNA was detected in a small proportion of the equids in Palestine.