Iranian Journal of Parasitology 2017. 12(4):597-605.

Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Theileria equi Infection in Equines from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan
Muhammad Jamal Khan AFRIDI, Abdul Hafeez MIAN, Muhammad SAQIB, Ghazanfar ABBAS, Javid ALI, Muhammad Khalid MANSOOR, Awais ur Rahman SIAL, Imaad RASHEED, Muhammad Hammad HUSSAIN


Background: Theileria equi is a tick borne protozoan parasite which causes piroplasmosis among equines worldwide. The present study was aimed to determine seroprevalence of T. equi in donkeys, horses, and mules from two equine populated districts (Peshawar and Charsadda) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan.

Methods: A total of 393 equine (195 horses, 194 donkeys and 4 mules) serum samples were collected from five and four randomly selected localities in Charsadda (n = 193) and Peshawar (n = 200), respectively. The presence of antibodies to T. equi was determined using a commercially available competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: An overall seroprevalence of 38.2% (n=150) was observed among all the tested animals suggesting a higher seropositivity among equids belonging to Charsada (50.3%) as compared to Peshawar (27.5%). Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that being a donkey (OR 2.94), having tick infestation (OR 4.32), history of voiding red (i.e., blood containing) urine (OR 3.97) and anemia (OR 2.1) were the factors significantly associated with the seroprevalence of T. equi. For animals with higher anti-T. equi antibody titers, a strong association of seroprevalence for T. equi was recorded with species, age, sex, tick infestation, anemia and history of hematuria.

Conclusion: The present study indicates a high level of exposure of working equids to T. equi in KPK region, Pakistan. Future studies should focus on tick vector identification and other factors responsible for spread of the disease. 


Seroprevalence; Piroplasmosis; Theileria equi; Donkey; Horse; cELISA; Pakistan

Full Text:



Nuttall GHF, Strickland C. Die parasiten der pferdepiro-plasmose resp. der “biliary fever.” Zbl. Bakt. Parasit. Abtlg. 1 Orig. 1910; 56: 524-525.

Mehlhorn H, Schein E. Redescription of Babesia equi Laveran, 1901 as Theileria equi Mehlhorn, Schein 1998. Parasitol Res. 1998;84(6):467-75.

Wise LN, Pelzel-McCluskey AM, Mealey RH et al. Equine Piroplasmosis. Vet Clin North Am Equine Prac. 2014; 30: 677–693.

Scoles GA, Ueti MW. Vector Ecology of Equine Piroplasmosis. Annu Rev Entomol. 2015;60:561-80.

De Waal DT, van Heerden J. Equine Piroplasmosis. In: Coetzer JAW, Tustin R. (Eds.), Infectious Diseases of Livestock. Oxford University Press, New York. 2004; pp 425–434.

Shkap V, Cohen I, Leibovitz B et al. Seroprevalence of Babesia equi among horses in Israel using competitive inhibition ELISA and IFA assays. Vet Parasitol. 1998;76(4):251-9.

Vial HJ, Gorenflot A. Chemotherapy against babesiosis. Vet Parasitol. 2006;138(1-2):147-60.

Radostits OM, Gay CC, Hinchcliff KW et al. Veterinary Medicine: A textbook of diseases of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goat. Tenth Ed. WB. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, USA. 2007.

Seifi HA, Mohri M, Sardari K. A mixed infection of Babesia equi and Babesia caballi in a racing colt: A report from Iran. J Equine Vet Sci. 2000; 20(12): 858–860.

Camacho AT, Guitian FJ, Pallas E et al. Theileria (Babesia) equi and Babesia caballi infections in horses in Galicia, Spain. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2005;37(4):293-302.

Knowles DP Jr. Control of Babesia equi parasitemia. Parasitol Today. 1996;12(5):195-8.

Rüegg SR, Torgerson P, Deplazes P et al. Age-dependent dynamics of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi infections in southwest Mongolia based on IFAT and/or PCR prevalence data from domestic horses and ticks. Parasitology. 2007;134(Pt 7):939-47.

Kumar S, Kumar R, Sugimoto C. A perspective on Theileria equi infections in donkeys. Jpn J Vet Res. 2009;56(4):171-80.

Brüning A. Equine piroplasmosis an update on diagnosis, treatment and prevention. 1996 ;152(2):139-51.

Ikadai H, Osorio CR, Xuan X et al. Detection of Babesia caballi infection by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using recombinant 48-kDa merozoiterhoptry protein. Int J Parasitol. 2000;30(5):633-5.

Hussain MH, Saqib M, Raza F et al. Seroprevalence of Babesia caballi and Theileria equi in five draught equine populated metropolises of Punjab, Pakistan. Vet Parasitol. 2014;202(3-4):248-56.

Knowles DP Jr, Kappmeyer LS, Stiller D et al. Antibody to a recombinant merozoite protein epitope identifies horses infected with Babesia equi. J Clin Microbiol. 1992;30(12):3122-6.

OIE (World Organization for Animal Health). Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals. Ch. 2.5.8. Equine Piroplasmosis. [WWW Document].2014; URL (accessed 6.12.15).

Cacciò S, Cammà C, Onuma M et al. The β-tubulin gene of Babesia and Theileria parasites is an informative marker for species discrimination. Int J Parasitol. 2000;30(11):1181-5.

Nagore D, García-Sanmartín J, García-Pérez AL et al. Detection and identification of equine Theileria and Babesia species by reverse line blotting: Epidemiological survey and phylogenetic analysis. Vet Parasitol. 2004;123(1-2):41-54.

Alanazi AD, Said AE, Morin-Adeline V et al. Quantitative PCR detection of Theileria equi using laboratory workflows to detect asymptomatic persistently infected horses. Vet Parasitol. 2014;206(3-4):138-45.

Khan MQ, Hayat B, Hayat CS. Prevalence of blood parasites in equines in and around Faisalabad. Pak Vet J.1987; 3: 113-116.

Rashid A, Mubarak A, Hussain A. Babesiosis in equines in Pakistan: a clinical report. Vet Ital. 2009;45(3):391-5.

Anonymous. Pakistan Livestock Census. Agriculture Census Organization, Government of Pakistan, Statistics Division 2006.

Thrusfield M. Veterinary Epidemiology. Second Ed. Blackwell Science Ltd. U.K. 2005.

Saqib M, Khan I, Abbas G, Muhmmad G et al. An atypical fatal Babesia caballi infection in a stage coach mare. Pak J Zool. 2016; 48:292-294.

Turnbull A, Wernery U, Wernery R et al J. Survey of six infectious diseases of feral donkeys in the United Arab Emirates. Equine Vet Ed.2010; 14: 33–38.

Chahan B, Zhang S, Seo JY et al. Seroepidemiological evidence for the possible presence of Babesia (Theileria) equi and Babesia caballi infections in donkeys in western Xinjiang, China. J Vet Med Sci. 2006;68(7):753-5.

Acici M, Umur S, Guvenc T et al. Seroprevalence of equine babesiosis in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Parasitol Int. 2008;57(2):198-200.

Balkaya I, Utuk AE, Piskin FC. Prevalance of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi in donkeys from eastern Turkey in winter season. Pak Vet J 2010; 30: 245–246.

Machado RZ, Toledo CZ, Teixeira MC et al. Molecular and serological detection of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi in donkeys (Equus asinus) in Brazil. Vet Parasitol. 2012;186(3-4):461-5.

Gizachew A, Schuster RK, Joseph S et al. Piroplasmosis in Donkeys-A Hematological and Serological Study in Central Ethiopia. J Eq Vet Sci. 2013;33:18–21.

Karatepe B, Karatepe M, Cakmak A et al. Investigation of seroprevalence of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi in horses in Nigde province, Turkey. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2009;41(1):109-13.

García-Bocanegra I, Arenas-Montes A, Hernández E et al. Seroprevalence and risk factors associated with Babesia caballi and Theileria equi infection in equids. Vet J. 2013 F;195(2):172-8.

Knowles RC. Equine piroplasmosis (babesiasis) of the Babesiaca balli type. Equine Pract.1983; 3:18–22.

Porretta D, Mastrantonio V, Amendolia S et al. Effects of global changes on the climatic niche of the tick Ixodesricinus inferred by species distribution modelling. Parasit Vectors. 2013;6:271.

Abutarbush SM, Alqawasmeh DM, Mukbel RM et al. Equine babesiosis: seroprevalence, risk factors and comparison of different diagnostic methods in Jordan. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2012;59(1):72-8.

Laus F, Veronesi F, Passamonti F et al. Prevalence of tick borne pathogens in horses from Italy. J Vet Med Sci. 2013;75(6):715-20.

Manan AK, Ahmad B Z, Abdullah F. Prevalence and identification of ixodid tick genera in frontier region Peshawar. J Agri and Biol Sci. 2007; 2: 98-100.

Santos TM dos, Roier ECR, Santos HA, Pires MS et al. Factors associated to Theileria equi in equids of two microregions from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de ParasitologiaVeterinária. 2011;20: 235–241.

Veronesi F, Morganti G, Ravagnan S et al. Molecular and serological detection of tick-borne pathogens in donkeys (Equus asinus) in Italy. Vet Microbiol. 2014;173(3-4):348-54.

Moretti A, Mangili V, Salvatori R et al. Prevalence and diagnosis of Babesia and Theileria infections in horses in Italy: A preliminary study. Vet J. 2010;184(3):346-50.

Kumar S, Malhotra DV, Dhar S et al. Vaccination of donkeys against Babesia equi using killed merozoite immunogen. Vet Parasitol. 2002;106(1):19-33.

Roberts CW, Satoskar A, Alexander J. Sex hormones and the course of parasitic infection. Parasitol Today. 1996;12(10):382-8.

Collard BL, Boettcher PJ, Dekkers JC et al. Relationships between energy balance and health traits of dairy cattle in early lactation. J Dairy Sci. 2000;83(2683-90.11):

Carbonneau E, de Passillé AM, Rushen J et al. The effect of incomplete milking or nursing on milk production, blood metabolites, and immune functions of dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2012;95(11):6503-12.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.