Population genetic studies of Fasciola species from cattle and selected wildlife species in Zimbabwe and localities of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa.
The objective of the study was to confirm the species and determine the genetic diversity of the confirmed Fasciola species from cattle and selected wildlife hosts from Zimbabwe and KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa. This was based on analysis of DNA sequences of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) regions. Flukes were collected from livers of 57 cattle at four abattoirs in Zimbabwe and 47 cattle at four abattoirs in South Africa. DNA was extracted from each fluke and 3 wildlife, alcohol preserved, duiker, antelope and eland samples from Zimbabwe. The ITS and CO1 regions of individual flukes were amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequenced. Aligned sequences (ITS 506 base pairs and CO1 381 base pairs) were analyzed by neighbour-joining, maximum parsimony and bayesian inference methods. The phylogenetic trees revealed the presence of Fasciola gigantica in cattle from Zimbabwe and F. gigantica and Fasciola hepatica in the samples from South Africa. Fasciola hepatica was more prevalent (64%) in South Africa than F. gigantica. Fasciola gigantica was the only species found in Zimbabwe save one sample and an antelope and a duiker which were found to be F. hepatica. This is the first molecular confirmation of Fasciola species in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Knowledge on the identity and distribution of these liver flukes at molecular level will allow disease surveillance and control in the studied areas.
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