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Haematological changes in sheep experimentally infected with Trypanosoma evansi

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Biological & environmental
Hopkins, J.; Luckins, A.G.; Onah, D.N.

Sheep were infected with Trypanosoma evansi TREU 2143 through the external jugular vein. The parasite kinetics as well as the effects on body temperature, packed cell volume (PCV), erythrocyte counts and total and differential white blood cell counts were monitored twice weekly for 3 months. The results showed that T. evansi produced a chronic form of the disease in sheep characterised by low-level and often cryptic parasitaemia, with self-cure occurring in two cases; mild anaemia as evidenced by decreases in PCV and erythrocyte counts; and significant (P< 0.02) leucocytosis by day 22 post infection (p.i.). The leucocytosis was a result of marked lymphocytosis whose significant rises (P< 0.02) parallelled the rises in total white blood cell (TWBC) counts. These changes were less obvious in the animals that underwent self-cure. We conclude that T. evansi produces pathological changes in the peripheral blood of sheep similar to those produced by its tsetse-transmitted counterparts. It would thus appear that the sheep/T. evansi model is suitable for long-term study of the immunopathology of pathogenic trypanosomes since the sheep is easily available, easy to handle and a natural host to all pathogenic trypanosomes.