KARI Progress towards East Cost Fever Control 1990

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Since the formation of a Veterinary Research Institute at Muguga, it has had powerful interest in research on theilerioses, tick-borne diseases caused by the protozoan parasites of the genus Theileria, which have now been placed in the phylum Apicomplexa with their close relatives, the genus Babesia and more distant relatives, the malarial and coccidia parasites. The main diseases of cattle caused by these parasites are known as East Coast fever (ECF) and the original form derived from buffalo is called Corridor disease. While we take some pleasure in Kenya as being the cradle of human development, we also have to recognize that Kenya is an area where theilerial species also probably evolved. This can be well illustrated by the occurrence of at least 4 species of Theileria in Kenyan cattle namely Theileria parva, T.mutans. T.taurotragi and T.velifera. As for cattle species of Theileria. we only know of two other species, namely Theileria annulata occurring in Northern Africa, Southern Europe, Middle East and Asia and Theileria orientalis occurring apparently in some adjacent countries to Kenya (Ethiopia and Burundi) and in many other countries (e.g. Korea, USA, Australia, U.K. and Japan). It is our belief that in East Africa, the Theileria species evolved together with our spectacular number of ungulate species of which the Africa buffalo is the most important because of its close relationship to cattle.