details in Agricultural Research.
Aids Moroccan, American Livestock Producers
By Kathryn Barry
April 10, 2001
Tests developed by
Agricultural Research Service scientists
to diagnose two serious tickborne diseases in livestock--anaplasmosis and
babesiosis--are giving Moroccan researchers an accurate picture of the disease
situation in that country. The information gathered will also help American
officials protect domestic livestock from the diseases by facilitating
standardization of the tests worldwide.
Researchers at ARS Animal Disease Research Unit in Pullman, Wash.,
trained Moroccan scientists to use these tests in conjunction with the existing
test for another disease, theileriosis (ty-leer-ee-osis). Morocco has 28
million sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys and horses. But until now, officials have
had no way to determine the prevalence and impact of these diseases on Moroccan
The team collected blood samples and ticks from cattle, horses and donkeys
at 26 sites throughout the country. The tests confirmed the presence of each
disease-causing organism, including the first verification in Morocco of
anaplasmosis in cattle. Theileriosis proved to be the most prevalent tickborne
disease in cattle. And nearly two-thirds of the donkeys and horses tested were
found with equine babesiosis, also known as piroplasmosis.
The next phase of the research will focus on the ticks that transmit the
diseases. Three tick species were identified as the likely carriers, but
additional molecular work is necessary to confirm the role of each tick.
An article describing this research appears in the April issue of Agricultural Research, ARS'
ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contacts: Willard L. Goff and Donald P. Knowles, ARS
Animal Disease Research Unit, Pullman, Wash., phone (509) 335-6029,