The increasing Yezo sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) population is creating a large problem. Yezo sika deer are an important blood meal source, and these deer contribute to the maintenance of tick populations. Theileria spp. infections in Yezo sika deer and T. orientalis infections in cows occur at high frequencies, and the same tick species infests both deer and cows. Therefore, a specific detection method to identify deer Theileria spp. is important. In this study, we establish a novel molecular detection method for identifying Theileria spp. from deer and tick samples using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). This method targets a metalloprotease/cell division cycle protein gene homologue. Our LAMP protocol was able to detect deer Theileria and did not show cross reactivity with other closely related protozoan parasites, including T. orientalis. The LAMP method showed sensitivity and specificity equivalent to those of nested PCR performed on the same field samples from deer and ticks. These results demonstrate the applicability of LAMP to field surveys in which the detection of deer Theileria spp. is required. In conclusion, due to its simplicity, specificity, and reliability, we suggest our LAMP protocol as an appropriate method for routine surveys to detect Yezo sika deer and ticks infected with deer Theileria spp. parasites. Additionally, this LAMP method offers great promise as a useful tool to distinguish Yezo sika deer Theileria from related Theileria parasites present in livestock.
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