Since first being recognised at the turn of the century, East Coast fever of cattle and its causal parasite Theileria parva have undergone numerous name changes as scientists have observed differences in the distribution, severity, characteristics and host associations of the disease within Africa. These changes have caused considerable confusion to scientists and affected the control of infections caused by T parva in the field. The justification for the decisions affecting the nomenclature of T parva and the diseases it causes are documented and reviewed, and their validity is considered in the light of current knowledge. Areas of research required to clarify the remaining confusion are identified.
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