PCR detection of granulocytic Anaplasma and Babesia in Ixodes ricinus ticks and birds in west-central Poland.

Departament of Genetics, Faculty of Biology, Szczecin University, Al. Piastow 40B, 71-065 Szczecin, Poland.
Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM (Impact Factor: 3.06). 02/2006; 13(1):21-3.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of the study was to establish the role of forest birds as reservoirs of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia spp. in Wielkopolski National Park. A total of 108 birds from 9 species were collected between May-September 2002. Blood samples were taken from 84 specimens and 442 individuals of the common tick, Ixodes ricinus, were collected from the birds. The 73 additional ticks were collected from vegetation. PCR amplification of a fragment of the epank 1 gene and 18S rRNA gene was used for detection of A. phagocytophilum and Babesia spp. DNA, respectively. Pathogen DNA was not detected in any of the blood samples or ticks collected from birds. On the other hand, 3 ticks collected from vegetation (4.1% of all examined specimens) were positive for A. phagocytophilum DNA. In spite of the high level of infestation of birds by I. ricinus, it is clear that they do not constitute a competent reservoir of A. phagocytophilum and Babesia in WNP. Additionally, I. ricinus is not a significant vector in this area.

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    ABSTRACT: Ticks are very important vectors of pathogenic microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoans), which may induce serious contagious diseases in humans and in farm animals. The aim of the study was to determine the coincidence of 3 pathogens: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia microti in Ixodes ricinus ticks in south-eastern Poland and to estimate the degree of infection with each of the examined pathogens depending on the developmental stage of ticks (nymph, female, male). The study material were 1,620 Ixodes ricinus ticks collected at 5 sites in the Lublin macroregion, showing the presence of various forest biotopes. The PCR method was used to identify DNA for B. burgdorferi and A. phagocytophilum, and the nested-PCR - for B. microti. In 1,368 (84.44%) of the 1,620 examined ticks no infections were found. Single infections were noted in 217 ticks (13.4%) and coinfections were detected in 35 specimens (2.16%). The most common was the coincidence of A. phagocytophilum with B. microti (17 infected specimens, 1.05% of the total number). A similar result was obtained for the coincidence of B. burgdorferi s. l. with A. phagocytophilum (15 infected specimens, 0.93% of the total number). Only 2 cases of the coinfection of B. burgdorferi s. l. with B. microti, which equals 0.12% of the total number, were found. Infection with all 3 pathogens was identified in only 1 female tick (0.06% of the total number).
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    ABSTRACT: The bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum has for decades been known to cause the disease tick-borne fever (TBF) in domestic ruminants in Ixodes ricinus-infested areas in northern Europe. In recent years, the bacterium has been found associated with Ixodes-tick species more or less worldwide on the northern hemisphere. A. phagocytophilum has a broad host range and may cause severe disease in several mammalian species, including humans. However, the clinical symptoms vary from subclinical to fatal conditions, and considerable underreporting of clinical incidents is suspected in both human and veterinary medicine. Several variants of A. phagocytophilum have been genetically characterized. Identification and stratification into phylogenetic subfamilies has been based on cell culturing, experimental infections, PCR, and sequencing techniques. However, few genome sequences have been completed so far, thus observations on biological, ecological, and pathological differences between genotypes of the bacterium, have yet to be elucidated by molecular and experimental infection studies. The natural transmission cycles of various A. phagocytophilum variants, the involvement of their respective hosts and vectors involved, in particular the zoonotic potential, have to be unraveled. A. phagocytophilum is able to persist between seasons of tick activity in several mammalian species and movement of hosts and infected ticks on migrating animals or birds may spread the bacterium. In the present review, we focus on the ecology and epidemiology of A. phagocytophilum, especially the role of wildlife in contribution to the spread and sustainability of the infection in domestic livestock and humans.
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