Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 2013, 3, 273-276 Published Online October 2013 (
Preliminary Assessment of Goat Piroplasmosis
in Benadir Region, Somalia
Ahmed Abdulkadir Hassan1, Abdalla Mohamed Ibrahim2,
Rabab Haroon Mohamed2, Hussein Haji Aden3
1Jazeera Quarantine, Mogadishu, Somalia
2College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bahri, Khartoum, Sudan
3Somali Animal Health Service Project (SAHSP), Mogadishu, Somalia
Received July 30, 2013; revised August 30, 2013; accepted September 10, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Ahmed Abdulkadir Hassan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribu-
tion License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly
Haemoparasites are major-constraints on livestock production in tropical and sub-tropical countries. This study was
conducted during 2012-2013 to determine the prevalence of blood parasites in goats of small-holders in Benadir region,
Somalia and update epidemiological data that had already lost during the civil war in the country. A total of 100 blood
samples were collected from goat in Wadajir (47 goat) and Dharkeynley (53 goat) districts, using venipuncture of jugu-
lar vein. The samples were examined for the presence of blood parasites using light microscopy. Some ticks when pre-
sented in the sampled animals—were also collected for tick identification. Analysis of blood smears revealed 100%
samples positive for blood parasites. Out of these cases, 22 samples (22%) were harboring single infection of Babesia
spp. and 14 samples (14%) were having single infection of Theileria spp. Interestingly the Remaining 64 blood samples
(64%) showed mixed infection of Babesia sp p. with Th eileria spp. Rhipicephalus evertsi (72.84%), Rhipicephalus pul-
chellus (34.57%), Amblyomma lepidum (3.70%) and Hyalomma rufipes (1.23%) were identified from the investigated
goats. In conclusion, the findings of this study indicated that, the prevalence of tick and tick-borne diseases were con-
sidered to be high in Benadir region of Somalia. A further area wide in-depth study is recommended in the country.
Keywords: Piroplasmosis; T&TBDs; Goat; Benadir Region; Somalia
1. Introduction
Haemoprotozoan parasites are the main livestock pro-
duction constraints all over the world ([1-3]). Causing
serious economical losses, tick and tick borne diseases (T
& TBDs) still remain to be a major threat to animals in
tropical and sub tropical countries ([1,4,5]) including
Somalia. In case of these blood parasites infection up to
75% erythrocytes may be destroyed in fatal cases and
even in milder infection so many erythrocytes are de-
stroyed, then a severe anaemia result ([1,2]). Babesiosis,
Theileriosis and Ehrelichiosis (Cowdriosis and Anaplas-
mosis) are the major TBDs that cause serious diseases
among Central and East African animals including goats
([1,4]). This study was undertaken to know the ubiquity
of T&TBDs prevalent in goat in Benadir region, Somalia.
This will further pave the way for launching sustainable
animal disease controlling/minimizing in Somalia. The
livestock sector in Somalia is an important contributor to
the overall economy of Somalia, with its vast rangeland
grazing area and large animal population. They are
adapted to a nomadic way of grazing which may be mi-
grated through borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia and
Kenya. This may affect the distribution of such diseases
in the country. There is little information on national
herd distribution and composition up to date. About 37.5
millions grazing animals were reported ([6,7]). Other
data gathered by the Food Security Assessment Unit [8]
were a total of 38.9 millions grazing animals. The comp-
sition of animals in southern Somalia is shown in the
Table 1.
The total collapse of the state and lawlessness resulted
in the loss of most animal health services and facilitates
scarcity of research projects. Then the spread of livestock
diseases in the country is uncontrolled. Therefore this
study will contribute on a recent data base of parasitical
diseases in Somalia.
opyright © 2013 SciRes. OJVM
2. Materials and Methods
Study Area:
Before the outbreak of the civil war in 1991, the De-
mocratic Republic of Somalia covered an area of 638,000
square kilometres in the Horn of Africa. Somalia’s land-
mass is dominated by arid and semiarid rangelands for
which pastoralism is the most appropriate form of land
Benadir region is one the southern regions of Somalia.
The Districts of study are Wadajir and Dharkeynley
which commonly known as “Medina” (See Figure 1).
Animals: Goats of small-holders in Benadir region,
Blood samples: A total of 100 goat blood samples
were collected aseptically in a sterilized syringe from the
jugular vein and transferred into blood containers con-
taining EDTA. A drop of blood was also spotted on filter
paper, dried and stored in 20˚C until needed for further
molecular confirmation. Thin blood smears were pre-
pared and fixed with absolute methanol and stained with
Giemsa’s stain. These samples were transported to Sudan
for parasitological investigation. The stained blood
smears were examined microscopically in Parasitology
Lab., College of Veterinary Medicine, Sudan University
of Science and Technology (SUST).
Ticks samples: Ticks were collected from some of the
sampled animals and preserved in 70% ethanol and
transported to Sudan for tick identification. These sam-
ples were identified in the Department of Entomology
Table 1. Livestock population in Southern Somalia [8].
Area Camels Cattle Sheep Goats Total
Southern Somalia 1,217,470 1,340,870 707,020 1,860,110 5,125,470
Figure 1. Wadajir and Dharkeynley districts.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJVM
and Acarology, Veterinary Research Institute (VRI),
Khartoum, Sudan.
3. Results and Discussion
In this study, screening test of 100 blood samples reveals
that all blood smears were positive with hyperparasitae-
mia of Piroplasms (Plate 1). Despite the animal is ap-
parently healthy and this might be due to the unusual
acaricidal practice among goat householders or due to
host resistant to these parasites, hence there is a hyper-
parasitaemia as well as mixed infection of Piroplasms. A
further investigation using advanced molecular tech-
niques is needed in this aspect.
As shown in Table 2, analysis of stained blood smears
revealed 100% samples positive for blood parasites. Out
of these cases, 22 samples (22%) were harboring single
infection of Babesia spp. and 14 samples (14%) were
having single infection of Theileria spp. Interestingly the
remaining 64 blood samples (64%) showed mixed in-
fection of Babesia sp p. with Theileria spp.
In the present study Rhipicephalus evertsi is found to
be the superior (72.84%) among goat ticks in Somalia
(Plate 2), followed by Rhipicephalus pulchellus (34.57%),
Amblyomma lepidum (03.70%) and Hyalomma rufipes
(01.23%). This may reflect the high prevalence of TBDs
reported in these goats. Similar tick species were identi-
fied in East Africa [1].
4. Acknowledgements
We are grateful to acknowledge Abdullah Abukar Has-
san (Afgooye) for his dynamic guidance and sympathetic
attitude during this study. We would like to thank Prof.
Plate 1. Somali goat blood smear showing hyper-parasitaemia of Piroplasms.
Table 2. Analysis of stained blood smears.
Piroplasms Dharkeynley (n = 53) Wadajir (n = 47) Total Prevalence
Babesia spp. 7 (13.21%) 15 (31.91%) 22 (22%)
Theileria spp. 9 (16.98%) 5 (10.64%) 14 (14%)
Mix infection 37 (69.81%) 27 (57.45%) 64 (64%)
Overall prevalence 53 (100%) 47 (100%) 100 (100%)
(a) (b) (c) (d)
Plate 2. Ticks identified from Somali goats in Benadir area. (a) Rhipicephalus evertsi; (b) Rhipicephalus pulchellus; (c) Am-
lyomma lepidum; (d) Hyalomma rufipes. b
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJVM
Ahmed A. Ismail, SUST and VRI for their technical sup-
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[6] FAO/World Bank Cooperative Programme, the World
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Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJVM