Original Research

Study on the prevalence and genetic diversity of Eimeria species from broilers and free-range chickens in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa

Abiodun J. Fatoba, Oliver T. Zishiri, Damer P. Blake, Sunday O. Peters, Jeffrey Lebepe, Samson Mukaratirwa, Matthew A. Adeleke
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 87, No 1 | a1837 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v87i1.1837 | © 2020 Abiodun J. Fatoba, Oliver T. Zishiri, Damer P. Blake, Sunday O. Peters, Jeffrey Lebepe, Samson Mukaratirwa, Matthew A. Adeleke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 27 November 2019 | Published: 17 September 2020

About the author(s)

Abiodun J. Fatoba, Discipline of Genetics, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, South Africa
Oliver T. Zishiri, Discipline of Genetics, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, South Africa
Damer P. Blake, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Sunday O. Peters, Department of Animal Science, Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia, United States
Jeffrey Lebepe, Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Samson Mukaratirwa, Department of Biological Sciences, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Matthew A. Adeleke, Discipline of Genetics, School of Life Sciences, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, South Africa


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Abstract

This study was conducted from January to October 2018 with the objective to determine the prevalence and genetic diversity of Eimeria species in broiler and free-range chickens in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. A total of 342 faecal samples were collected from 12 randomly selected healthy broiler chicken farms and 40 free-range chickens from 10 different locations. Faecal samples were screened for the presence of Eimeria oocysts using a standard flotation method. The species of Eimeria isolates were confirmed by amplification of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS-1) partial region and sequences analysis. Among broiler and free-ranging chickens, 19 out of 41 pens (46.3%) and 25 out of 42 faecal samples (59.5%) were positive for Eimeria infection. Molecular detection revealed the following species: Eimeria maxima, Eimeria tenella, Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria brunetti and Eimeria mitis in all the samples screened. Similarly, polymerase chain reaction assays specific for three cryptic Eimeria operational taxonomic units were negative for all the samples. Phylogenetic analysis of the ITS-1 sequences supported species identity with the greatest variation detected for E. mitis. This study provides information on the range and identity of Eimeria species, and their genetic relatedness, circulating in commercially reared broilers and free-ranging chickens from different locations in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Keywords

chickens; coccidiosis; Eimeria; genetic diversity; molecular diagnosis; prevalence

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