This study was carried out to determine the prevalence and distribution of tropical theileriosis in cattle in eastern Turkey by microscopical, serological and molecular methods. A total of 1561 whole blood, 1505 serum and 1483 blood smear samples were collected from cattle of various breeds and ages in 11 towns of Eastern Turkey. Theileria annulata piroplasm DNA extracted from cattle blood was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using species-specific primers. Serum antibodies against T. annulata were investigated by indirect fluorescence antibody test (IFAT). Blood smears were examined for Theileria piroplasms by microscopical examination (ME). In the examination of DNA extracted from 1561 blood samples, an amplicon with the size of 721 by was obtained in 37.8% (590/1561) of these samples. Serum antibodies against T. annulata and piroplasm of Theileria spp. were detected in 34.9% (526/1505) and 19.7% (293/1483) of the samples, respectively. The differences between ME and PCR results and between ME and lFAT results were statistically significant (P < 0.05). In contrast, there was no significant difference between the PCR and MAT results. A total of 179 ticks (136 female; 43 male) belonging to Hyalomma spp. were collected from cattle from three towns. Ticks were identified to be Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum on the basis of morphological features. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.