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Host and pathogen DNA identification in blood meals of nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks from forest parks and rural forests of Poland



Host and pathogen DNA identification in blood meals of nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks from forest parks and rural forests of Poland



Experimental and Applied Acarology 62(4): 543-555



DNA analysis of blood meals from unfed nymphal Ixodes ricinus allows for the identification of tick host and tick-borne pathogens in the host species. The recognition of host species for tick larvae and the reservoirs of Borrelia, Rickettsia and Anaplasma species were simultaneously carried out by analysis of the blood meals of 880 questing nymphal I. ricinus ticks collected in forest parks of Szczecin city and rural forests in northwestern Poland that are endemic areas for Lyme borreliosis. The results obtained from the study indicate that I. ricinus larvae feed not only on small or medium animals but also on large animals and they (i.e. roe deer, red deer and wild boars) were the most prevalent in all study areas as the essential hosts for larvae of I. ricinus. The composition of medium and small vertebrates (carnivores, rodents, birds and lizards) provided a more diverse picture depending on study site. The reservoir species that contain the most pathogens are the European roe deer Capreolus capreolus, in which two species of Rickettsia and two species of Borrelia were identified, and Sus scrofa, in which one Rickettsia and three Borrelia species were identified. Rickettsia helvetica was the most common pathogen detected, and other included species were the B. burgdorferi s.l. group and B. miyamotoi related to relapsing fever group. Our results confirmed a general association of B. garinii with birds but also suggested that such associations may be less common in the transmission cycle in natural habitats than what was thought previously.

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Accession: 053583809

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PMID: 24352572

DOI: 10.1007/s10493-013-9763-x


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