Thumbnail Image

Comparing diagnostic techniques for detecting intestinal parasites and phylogenetic analysis of Babesia in captive baboons

Gray, Kristene Marie
Baboons are important as models in biomedical research. The diagnosis and control of parasite infections in baboon research colonies provides quality animals for biomedical research. Fecal samples were collected and tested for parasites from baboons at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. DNA was extracted from blood of Babesia positive baboons and the 18s rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced. Cysts of Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar, E. coli and eggs of Trichuris trichiura were detected. Our results indicated that zinc sulfate flotation and formalin ethyl-acetate sedimentation were more effective for detecting cysts of Entamoeba species whereas sugar flotation was for recovering eggs of T. trichiura. Overall, the prevalence of infection of Babesia sp. within the baboon population was 8.8% (73 of 830). Phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced Babesia DNA from 2 individual baboons revealed that Babesia sp. found in baboons is a novel species most closely related to B. leo.