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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 154-158

Serological examination of trypanosomes infestation in cattle reared in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Department of Animal Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria

Date of Submission23-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance15-Nov-2018
Date of Web Publication31-Jul-2019

Correspondence Address:
K O Idahor
Department of Animal Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Shabu-Lafia Campus, PMB 135
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.263725

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Background & objectives: Cattle population is relatively dense in Nasarawa State (Nigeria) particularly in Keffi and its environs, where there are more Hausa/Fulani settlers whose main occupation is farming and herding. Unfortunately, the area is purportedly described as a “horde of tsetse fly species” which transmits trypanosomes that cause severe disease in humans, livestock and wildlife species. This study was targeted at examining trypanosome species prevalent among cattle breeds reared in Keffi metropolis.
Methods: A total of 110 cattle, purely based on availability were screened within five working days for trypanosomes infestation using haematocrit centrifugation technique and buffy coat technique. The breeds of cattle examined included White Fulani (64), Sokoto Gudali (26), N’dama (16) and Muturu (4); reared in Jarmai, Gauta and Keffi North districts of Keffi Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Data collected were analysed using simple descriptive statistics.
Results: It was observed that 18 (16.4%) out of 110 cattle screened were infested with 5 (4.55%) Trypanosoma con- golense and 13 (11.82%) T. vivax. The T. congolense positive cases were 4 (3.64%) in White Fulani and 1(0.91%) in Sokoto Gudali breeds whereas, T. vivax occurrence was 9 (8.18%) in White Fulani breed and 4 (3.64%) in Sokoto Gudali breed. The N’dama and Muturu breeds were absolutely not infested and no mixed infestation was recorded in any of the breeds.
Interpretation & conclusion: Trypanosoma vivax and T. congolense are the predominant trypanosome species in the study area affecting mainly Sokoto Gudali and White Fulani breeds. Since, N’dama and Muturu breeds were observed to be trypano-tolerant; intensive breeding strategy, strain upgrading mechanisms and genetic modifications could be adopted to ensure other cattles’ survival and prevent disease transmission in the area and beyond.

Keywords: Cattle; Keffi; Nigeria; Trypanosoma congolense; T. vivax; trypanosomiasis; tsetse fly

How to cite this article:
Idahor K O, Adua M M, Saleh D F. Serological examination of trypanosomes infestation in cattle reared in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. J Vector Borne Dis 2019;56:154-8

How to cite this URL:
Idahor K O, Adua M M, Saleh D F. Serological examination of trypanosomes infestation in cattle reared in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. J Vector Borne Dis [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 6];56:154-8. Available from: http://www.jvbd.org/text.asp?2019/56/2/154/263725

  Introduction Top

Trypanosomes are protozoa that could be described as insect-borne, which cause a disease called trypano- somiasis in humans, domestic and wild animal species especially in the tropical rainforests, where tsetse fly is believed to be most prevalent. According to Adam et al[1] trypanosomiasis is a haemoprotozoan disease of humans and livestock in sub-Saharan Africa. It is mostly transmitted by tsetse fly (Glossina spp.) and is commonly called “sleeping sickness” in human beings. Trypanosomiasis is, however, commoner in non-resistant animal species than in humans. However, Nigerian N’dama and Muturu cattle breeds have been purportedly reported to be trypano- tolerant[2],[3]. Hence, they are wide spread in the rainforest regions of Nigeria, where tsetse fly is highly prevalent. The riverine and forest species of tsetse fly are poor vectors of trypanosomes compared to those found in savanna belt[4].

According to Usman et al[5], trypanosome species include T. equiperdum, T. evansi, T. simiae, T. vivax, T. congolense, T. brucei and its subspecies such as T. b. gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense. Among these parasites, T. vivax and T. congolense are described as “haematon- ics” that are usually found in the plasma while, T. b. gambiense, T. b. rhodesiense, T. equiperdum and T. evansi are referred to as “tissue invader” which are found either in the extravascular or intravascular regions. The T. vivax, T. congolense and T. brucei spp are biologically transmitted by Glossina sp. (tsetse fly) whereas, T. evansi and T. vivax are mechanically transmitted by biting flies, especially tabanids and stomoxys[6]. Trypanosoma equiperdum is reported to be transmitted sexually particularly in Equidae[7].

In any case, trypanosomiasis presents intermittent fever, parasitaemia, anaemia, lymphadenopathy, jaundice, progressive emaciation and weakness in the infected animal or human being. Other symptoms are dullness, intermittent somnolence, apparent confusion, intention tremor in all limbs, myoclonic jerks and reduced productivity which could persist as acute or chronic condition (leading to death if not treated), depending on the animal host and parasite virulence[6],[8],[9].

It has been reported that trypanosomiasis has spread widely covering about 10 million km2 in almost 37 countries in sub-SaharanAfrica and 18 countries in LatinAmer- ica, Central America and Mexico[10]. Different campaigns and projects like Pan African Tsetse fly and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC) and Biological Control of Tsetse fly Project (BIOCT), among others were initiated and established to achieve the goal of elimination and eradication of tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis from the endemic countries in Africa. According to the PATTEC[11], over 65 million people are exposed to the risk of infection and >500,000 people are reported to be infected with trypanosomiasis with an annual death rate of 50,000.

Nigeria is highly endemic for trypanosomiasis. Strikingly, some reports have revealed that about 63.4% (587,273 km2) of Nigeria’s total landmass (926,488 km2) has been infected with trypanosomiasis[12],[14],[15],[16]. Essentially, high prevalence of bovine trypanosomiasis has been reported in northcentral Nigeria[17], southern Nigeria[18] and Lafia[19] regions. Yet, the cases of trypanosomiasis kept re-occurring in Nigeria. It is believed that uncontrolled cross breeding among all the cattle reared in Keffi metropolis, may have deteriorated the genetic integrity of trypano-tolerant potential traits particularly in N’dama and Mu-turu breeds. Therefore, there is a need to examine bovine trypanosomiasis burden among cattle breeds reared in Keffi metropolis. More importantly, proximity of Keffi to Abuja (The Federal Capital Territory), where only whole some animals and animal products are screened and certified, before they are permitted to enter the abattoir and other designated livestock centers warranted this study.

  Material & Methods Top

Brief description of the study area

The study was conducted in Keffi Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, Nigeria located between latitude 8.9 °N and longitude 7.8 °E. The temperature ranges between 20.4 and 30.6 °C with an average rainfall of 108.5 mm per annum. The area is characterized by two distinct seasons—Rainy season that spans between March and October and dry season from November to February. There are about 92,664 settlers who are basically Hau-sa, Fulani, Mada, Eggon, Afo, Gwandara and Gbagyi, whose main occupation includes farming and rearing of animals[20].

Study animals and sample size determination

The cattle-breed in the area are White Fulani, N’dama, Muturu and Sokoto Gudali reared under extensive method, though some of the animals are tethered and given some level of care. In 2006, the estimated total animal population in Nigeria comprised of 15.2 million cattle, 23 million sheep, 28 million goats, 1.05 million donkeys and 206 thousand horses[21]. In this cross-sectional study, 12% of every herd of both sexes and all age groups were randomly selected from three main districts (Jarmai, Gauta and Keffi North) of Keffi Local Government Area and examined. The 12% sample size was purely based on availability and the selection was based on body (physical) condition (i.e. good, medium and poor) within each breed studied.

Study design and protocol

Keffi Local Government Area was selected because of the history of abortion and early postnatal death among cattle reared in the area. Also, there were records of apparent clinical signs of anaemia, emaciation, rough hair coat, skin discoloration, superficial lymph nodes inflammation and pica-appetite among the cattle breeds in the area. From each animal examined, 2 ml of blood was aseptically collected through the jugular vein in bottles containing ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid. The samples were carefully arranged in ice pack and promptly transported to the Central Diagnostic Laboratory, Nigeria Institute of Trypanosomiasis, Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria for trypanosomes examination.

A total of 110 cattles were screened for trypanosomes using haematocrit centrifugation technique and buffy coat technique as described earlier[22]. The motility in wet film and morphological appearance in Giemsa stained films were used to identify the trypanosome species. The trypanosomes with medium size marginal kinetoplast without free flagellum and inconspicuous undulating membrane were classified as T. vivax whereas those with marginal and sub-terminal kinetoplast were classified as T. congolense.

Data collection and analysis

Data on positive trypanosomes cases were collected and recorded based on the study area prevalence and breed infestation rate. All the data collected were subjected to simple descriptive statistics as described by Adesoye[23].

  Results Top

Trypanosomes burden in cattle reared in Keffi Local Government Area is presented in [Table 1]. Out of 40 cattle screened in Jarmai district, seven cases (representing 6.36%) were positive, which included two cases of T. congolense and five of T. vivax.
Table 1: Trypanosomes burden in cattle reared in Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Nigeria

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In Gauta district, 35 animals were screened out of which eight (representing 7.27%) were infested with trypanosomes whereas, out of 35 animals examined in Keffi-North district, only three (representing 2.73%) were positive for T. vivax. Overall, out of 110 cattle screened in this study, 18 (representing 16.36%) were infested with trypanosomes, yet mixed infestations were not observed and only T. congolense and T. vivax were the Trypano-soma species recorded.

The influence of cattle breeds on trypanosomes prevalence in Keffi Local Government Area is shown in [Table 2]. It was observed that N’dama and Muturu breeds were absolutely not infested with trypanosome. Meanwhile, White Fulani had the highest prevalence of T. congolense (3.64%) which was followed by Sokoto Gudali with 0.91% prevalence. Trypanosoma vivax positive cases were as high as 8.18% in White Fulani compared to 3.64% in Sokoto Gudali. The T. congolense was responsible for 4.55% of total infection and T. vivax for 11.82%.
Table 2: Influence of cattle breeds on trypanosomes infestation in Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Nigeria

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  Discussion Top

Trypanosomiasis is a very serious veterinary and animal production problem in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria. The results in this study revealed that trypanosomiasis is prevalent in the study area, suggestive of possible zoonosis and epidemics. Though, the recorded 16.4% overall infestation rate is lower than that reported (42.9%) in a study in Ogun State, Nigeria[6], both studies showed that T. vivax species is more prevalent than T. congolense. However, additional T. brucei species and mixed infestation cases reported in that study were not observed in the present study. This may be largely due to ecological influences and cattle breed-type differences in the studies. The overall prevalence (16.4%) of trypanosomiasis in the present study was higher than that reported (3.8%) in Benue State, Nigeria[17] but the species recorded (T. vivax and T. congolense) were same, with T. vivax predominating. This observation corroborated the report of Adam et al[1] in Ghana, but contradicted the findings of studies carried out in Ethiopia by Kassaye[24] and Biyazen et al[25] where prevalence rate of T. congolense was higher. These show that trypanosomes are not only prevalent in Nigeria but also in other countries of Africa continent hence, holistic eradication strategy is necessary.

Further, the study revealed that N’dama and Muturu breeds were absolutely not infested by the trypanosomes prevalent in the study area, unlike White Fulani and Sokoto Gudali that were infested with both T. congolense and T. vivax species. This observation strengthens the reports of trypano-tolerance ability of N’dama and Muturu breeds[5],[18],[26],[27],[28],[29]. This could be largely due to innate resistance potency and natural genetic manipulation overtime, to adapt to tsetse fly bites and partly due to their coat colour that may serve as camouflage. Also, it might be due to their hairy tail end used in warding off tsetse fly and probably due to their relative small population size in the country. Presumably, N’dama and Muturu breeds in the study area, have not deteriorated genetically by uncontrolled mating among the cattle breeds.

The cattle breed-specific trypanosomes prevalent rate observed in the study, contradicted the observations recorded by Usman et al[5] that White Fulani had higher infection rate than Sokoto Gudali and Red Bororo. Nonetheless, with this understanding, that some cattle breeds are trypano-tolerant, concerted efforts should be geared towards breeding, strain upgrading and genetic manipulations to ensure all breeds in Nigeria have the ability to resist trypanosomiasis. This becomes imperative as several researchers have reported that trypanosomiasis is a serious protozoan disease that constitutes the greatest single constraint to cattle production in the tropics[5],[11],[30],[31].

  Conclusion Top

The results of the study indicate that trypanosomiasis is prevalent among cattle breeds in Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State with T. vivax and T. congo- lense as the predominant causal species of the disease, affecting mainly Sokoto Gudali and White Fulani breeds. Meanwhile, N’dama and Muturu breeds were discovered to be absolutely free of these trypanosome species. Therefore, cattle breeding strategies, strain upgrading mechanisms and genetic manipulation principles could be adopted in Nigeria. This may enhance trypano-tolerant traits among the cattle breeds, already adapted to the tropical environments and climatic conditions in the country. This may boost food security as well as ensure adequate animal protein intake in Nigeria and beyond.

Conflict of interest

The authors of the study declare no conflict of interest.

  Acknowledgements Top

The authors appreciate the technical assistance of the staff of the Central Diagnostic Laboratory, Nigeria Institute of Trypanosomiasis, Vom Plateau State, Nigeria.

  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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