Name: Myagmar Zoljargal
Affiliation: Research Unit for Molecular Diagnostics
Position: Foreign Visiting Researcher
Term: April 2023-June 2023
Host researcher: Associate Professor. Rika UMEMIYA-SHIRAFUJI (English /Japanese)
Circumstances of application:
I was a member of the research team in the SATREPS project titled “Epidemiological Studies on Animal Protozoan Diseases in Mongolia and Development of Effective Diagnostic Measures (2014-2018).” The project was jointly implemented by OUAVM and IVM. My research focused on PCR detection of bovine Babesia species in questing ticks from Mongolia. The primary objective of my research was to identify potential tick vectors responsible for transmitting bovine Babesia species, including B. bovis, B. bigemina, and B. naoakii, in Mongolia.
Research activity in NRCPD:
Babesiosis poses a significant annual economic burden on the global cattle and livestock industry. This severe disease is caused by hemoprotozoan parasites of the genus Babesia within the phylum Apicomplexa, which infect red blood cells. The transmission of these pathogens occurs through tick vectors. Identifying the specific tick vectors responsible for transmitting these virulent pathogens is crucial for effective control and management strategies against babesiosis.
In recent studies, we have demonstrated that Babesia bovis, Babesia bigemina, and Babesia naoakii parasites, known to cause clinical bovine babesiosis, can infect not only cattle but also Bactrian camels and yaks in Mongolia (Otgonsuren et al., 2020, 2022). However, the potential tick vectors responsible for Babesia infections have not been surveyed in this country. Mongolia is home to five genera and 18 species of ticks, including Dermacentor, Ixodes, Hyalomma, Haemaphysalis, and Rhipicephalus (Munkhdorj Dash, 2018), with many of them infesting cattle, camels, yaks, sheep, and goats.
To address this gap in knowledge and minimize Babesia parasite infections, we conducted a study screening a total of 524 questing tick DNA samples collected from six Mongolian provinces for Babesia species using parasite-specific PCR assays.
This research aims to determine precisely which Babesia parasite species are transmitted by which tick hosts, leading to more effective control and management strategies against bovine babesiosis in Mongolia.
I am excited to continue my current research study in Mongolia and also plan to publish the findings based on this study. Throughout this foreign research experience, I have acquired valuable study skills and knowledge, and I have had the opportunity to make friends from around the world.
As I move forward, I am eager to share the knowledge and study skills I have gained with my laboratory colleagues, especially with junior researchers, to support their growth and development.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my supervisor, Associate Professor Rika Umemiya-Shirafuji, and Professor Naoaki Yokoyama, for their exceptional guidance and unwavering support throughout the research process. Additionally, I want to express my thanks to all the members of NRCPD for their kind assistance and encouragement during my research journey.