An interdisciplinary study of tick-borne diseases in Ugandan cattle

Last changed: 12 October 2017
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The overall purpose is to improve cattle health through increased understanding of the microbial community in cattle and ticks, by investigation of the microbial composition (microbiota) of ticks and how this affects transmission and disease development in cattle in Uganda.

The overall purpose is to improve cattle health through increased understanding of the microbial community in cattle and ticks. Ticks are the most important vectors of disease-causing pathogens in domestic and wild animals and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) are a major threat to both cattle and human health.

Understanding the complex interactions within the microbiome is of great importance for understanding how tick-borne pathogens spread and cause disease. We will study cattle and ticks in all different agro-ecological zones of Uganda using molecular methodologies, including metagenomics. Metagenomics has proven to be a powerful tool for pathogen detection and for making in depth analysis of the microbial community. The microbiome of ticks feeding on cattle or living in its close proximity will be characterized and compared with the cattle microbiome.

Our results will give us insights into the microbiome of cattle and its relation to tick microbiome and disease. Possibly, new diseases causing agents will be identified.

These results can be used to develop diagnostic tests. Through fast and accurate diagnostics, proper treatment can be quickly started, thus reducing spread of infection. Improved health in cattle can, for example, also increase production.

The study will also contribute with knowledge on how cattle owners understand the relationships between ticks, cattle and TBDs. The knowledge generated in this project can contribute to more appropriately designed interventions for diagnosis and prevention of TBDs.

This is a Swedish Research Council funded project (2016-05705) that is estimated to run between 2017-2020.

Project Manager: Dr. Maja Malmberg

Main collaborator in Uganda: Associate Professor Lawrence Mugisha


Contact

Maja Malmberg, researcher
Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health, SLU
maja.malmberg@slu.se, +46(0)18-67 27 77

Page editor: gunnar.carlsson@slu.se