Theileria orientalis Ikeda Genotype in Cattle, Virginia, USA
Theileria orientalis Ikeda genotype is a parasite that causes a disease in cattle that results in major economic issues in Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. The parasite is transmitted by Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks, which have recently been reported in numerous states throughout the eastern United States. Concurrently, cattle in Virginia showed clinical signs consistent with a hemoprotozoan infection. We used amplicons specific for the major piroplasm surface protein and small subunit rDNA of piroplasms to test blood samples from the cattle by PCR. Bidirectional Sanger sequencing showed sequences with 100% identity with T. orientalis Ikeda genotype 2 sequences. We detected the parasite in 3 unrelated herds and from various animals sampled at 2 time points. Although other benign T. orientalis genotypes are endemic to the United States, detection of T. orientalis Ikeda genotype might represent a risk for the cattle industry in Virginia.