Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354917

Research Project: Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites for Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: A review of coccidiosis in Old World camels

item Dubey, Jitender
item SCHSTER, ROLF - Central Veterinary Research Laboratory

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2018
Publication Date: 10/15/2018
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Schster, R. 2018. A review of coccidiosis in Old World camels. Veterinary Parasitology. 262:75-83.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma, Neospora, Sarcocystis, Eimeria, and Cystoisopora are related coccidian parasites that cause severe illness in livestock. The oocyst is the environmentally resistant stage passed in feces of the definitive hosts. While Toxoplasma and Neospora have wide host range, Eimeria are generally host specific. Coccidiosis is an important disease of camels, especially nursing camels. There are many uncertainties about the life cycles of coccidian parasites in camels. In the present paper the authors review literature and suggest areas for future research. This review will be of interest to parasitologists and veterinarians in diagnosis of coccidiosis in camels.

Technical Abstract: Domesticated Old World camels (Camelus dromedarius and C. bactrianus) are important for the economy of several countries in Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, and coccidiosis is important as a cause of mortality in juvenile camels. There is confusion concerning the species of coccidian parasites in camels and their life cycles. The objective of the present paper is to review the biology of Eimeria, Cystoisospora, and Isospora species in camels. The following conclusions were drawn. Although five species of Eimeria; E. cameli, E. rajasthani, E. dromedarii, E. bactriani, and E. pellerdyi were named from camels, only E. cameli, E. rajasthani, E. dromedarii have been consistently found in numerous surveys and they are morphologically distinct. We consider E. pellerdyi and E. bacterini as species enquirende/ not valid. Eimeria cameli oocysts are distinctive, dark brown and up to 108 µm long. Its gametogonic stages and oocysts are present in the lamina propria of small intestines; only sexual stages have been confirmed. The remaining species of Eimeria (E. rajasthani and E. dromedarii) in camels are <40 µm long and their endogenous stages are unknown. There is one valid species of Cystoisospora, C. orlovi in camels and is associated with severe disease in young camels, both pastoral and stall fed camels. Camels as young as nine days old can develop severe diarrhea and can die before oocysts are detected in feces. Lesions and endogenous stages are confined to the large intestine. The main lesion is hemorrhagic, diphtheroid to hemorrhagic colitis-associated with sexual stages; asexual stages are unknown. Oocysts are rarely excreted by adult camels, and in low numbers. Therefore, infection in very young camels remains unexplained. Biologically and clinically, disease in young camels is similar to Cystoisospora suis infections in nursing pigs.