Acta Trop. 2023 Oct 13:107040. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2023.107040. Online ahead of print.
Anaplasma species are obligate intracellular rickettsial pathogens that cause significant diseases in animals and humans. Despite their importance, limited information on Anaplasma infections in Algeria has been published thus far. This study aimed to assess the infection rate, characterize Anaplasma species, and identify associated risk factors in selected sheep farms across Oum El Bouaghi region in Algeria. In 2018, we collected 417 blood samples from sheep and performed molecular characterization of Anaplasma species infecting these animals. This characterization involved the use of 16S rRNA, msp2, rpoB, and msp5 genes, which were analyzed through nested PCR, qPCR, cPCR, DNA sequencing, and subsequent phylogenetic analysis. Our findings revealed infection rates of 12.7% for Anaplasma species detected, with Anaplasma ovis at 10.8%, Anaplasma marginale at 1.7%, and Anaplasma platys at 0.2%. Interestingly, all tested animals were found negative for Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Statistical analyses, including the Chi-square test and Fisher exact test, failed to establish any significant relationships (p>0.05) between A. ovis and A. platys infections and variables such as age, sex, sampling season, and tick infestation level. However, A. marginale infection exhibited a significant association with age (p<0.05), with a higher incidence observed in lambs (5.2%) compared to other age groups. Remarkably, this study represents the first molecular detection of A. platys and A. marginale in Algerian sheep. These findings suggest that Algerian sheep may serve as potential reservoirs for these pathogens. This research contributes valuable insights into the prevalence and characteristics of Anaplasma infections in Algerian sheep populations, emphasizing the need for further investigation and enhanced surveillance to better understand and manage these diseases.