[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidial infections may be asymptomatic in immunocompetent hosts, but can be severe and disseminated in HIV/AIDS patients, children, the elderly, or in immunocompromised individuals, including those with primary or medically-induced immunodeficiencies. 209 faecal samples were collected from 80 clinical patients, with or without abdominal symptoms, and tested for the presence of the parasites. Microsporidia were found in 10 of the 80 patients (12.5%) using trichrom staining of faecal smears and/or PCR. Encephalitozoon intestinalis and 1 unidentified species were identified in 2 of the 32 children with primary immunodeficiencies (6%), presenting with diarrhoea, including one co-infection with Cryptosporidium meleagridis. In the group of patients with medically-induced immunosuppression (transplant recipients), 8 of the 48 patients (17%) were tested positive for microsporidia. Thus, these pathogens should be taken into account when the other etiological agents cannot be found in diarrheic patients with PIDs or undergoing immunosuppressive treatment before or after transplantation. This article presents the results of the first epidemiological study on the ccurrence and prevalence of microsporidia in patients with primary and secondary immunodeficiency in Poland.
Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM 06/2014; 21(2):244-248. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In populations of vertebrate hosts, the prevalence and abundance of helminth parasites often differ between the sexes, and the biasis is usually in favour of males showing higher prevalence and more intense infections . Sex-specific bias of helminth infections has been attributed to sex differences in host traits, including sex hormones and their influence on the host immune response and hence capacity to resist infection, and also to differences in the behaviour and ecology of the two sexes leading to different levels of exposure to the infective stages of helminths. Bank voles are one of the most common rodent species in Polish woodlands. Their parasitic fauna, behaviour and genetics have been described comprehensively over the last decade. Therefore, bank voles represent a good model to study relationships between host traits and parasite infection strategies. Here, contrary to the more usually observed male sex-biased trends, we report female sex-biased parasitism with Mastophorus muris in Polish bank vole populations studied over an 11 year period. We took into consideration all the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that were quantified and focused particularly on pregnancy and lactation status.
British Society for Parasitology 52nd Annual Spring Meeting 2014, University of Cambridge; 04/2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ixodes ricinus is a major vector for a range of microbial pathogens and the most prevalent and widely distributed tick species on the European continent, occurring in both natural and urban habitats. Nevertheless, little is known about the relative density of ticks in these two ecologically distinct habitats and the diversity of tick-borne pathogens that they carry.
We compared densities of questing I. ricinus nymphs and adults in urban and natural habitats in Central and Northeastern Poland, assessed the prevalence and rate of co-infection with A. phagocytophilum, Rickettsia, Ehrlichia and 'Ca. Neoehrlichia spp.' in ticks, and compared the diversity of tick-borne pathogens using molecular assays (PCR).
Of the 1325 adults and nymphs, 6.2% were infected with at least one pathogen, with 4.4%, 1.7% and less than 0.5% being positive for the DNA of Rickettsia spp., A. phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia spp. and Ca. N. mikurensis, respectively. Although tick abundance was higher in natural habitats, the prevalence of the majority of pathogens was higher in urban forested areas.
We conclude that: (i) zoonotic genetic variants of A. phagocytophilum are widely distributed in the Polish tick population, (ii) although the diversity of tick borne pathogens was higher in natural habitats, zoonotic species/ strains were detected only in urban forests, (iii) and we provide the first description of Ca. N. mikurensis infections in ticks in Poland.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-term field studies on parasite communities are rare but provide a powerful insight into the ecological and evolutionary processes shaping host-parasite interactions. The aim of our study was to identify the principal factors regulating long-term trends in the haemoparasite communities of bank voles, and to this end, we sampled three semi-isolated populations of bank voles (n = 880) in 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2010 in the Mazury lake district region of NE Poland. Overall, 90.8 % of the bank voles harboured at least one of the species of haemoparasites studied. Whilst overall prevalence (all species combined) did not vary significantly between the surveys, different temporal changes were detected among voles in each of the three sites. In voles from Urwitałt, prevalence increased consistently with successive surveys, whereas in Tałty, the peak years were 2002 and 2006, and in Pilchy, prevalence oscillated without a clear pattern. Across the study, bank voles harboured a mean of 1.75 ± 0.034 haemoparasite species, and species richness remained stable with no significant between-year fluctuations or trends. However, each of the five constituent species/genera showed a different pattern of spatio-temporal changes. The overall prevalence of Babesia microti was 4.9 %, but this varied significantly between years peaking in 2006 and declining again by 2010. For Bartonella spp., overall prevalence was 38.7 %, and this varied with year of study, but the temporal pattern of changes differed among the three sites. The overall prevalence of Haemobartonella (Mycoplasma) was 68.3 % with an increase in prevalence with year of study in all three sites. Hepatozoon erhardovae had an overall prevalence of 46.8 % but showed a marked reduction with each successive year of the study, and this was consistent in all three sites. The overall prevalence of Trypanosoma evotomys was 15.4 % varying significantly between sites, but showing temporal stability. While overall prevalence of all haemoparasites combined and species richness remained stable over the period of study, among the five haemoparasites, the pattern of spatiotemporal changes in prevalence and abundance of infections differed depending on parasite species. For some genera, host age was shown to play an important role, but a significant effect of host sex was found only for Haemobartonella spp.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The achievements of sled dogs in competitions depend both on their training and on their health. Vector-borne infections may lead to anemia, affect joints or heart muscles or even cause death. Canine babesiosis is an emerging, quickly spreading tick-borne disease in Central Europe. Over a 13-year period (2000-2012) the occurrence of babesiosis cases was analyzed in one sled dog kennel situated in Kury, a village near Tłuszcz (N 52°24'56.78″, E 21°30'37.55″) in Central Poland. Twenty cases/episodes of babesiosis were noted among the 10-12 dogs living in the kennel. In 2000-2004, no cases of babesiosis were noted; the first two cases were noted in April 2005. Since that time, only one dog remained uninfected; 6 dogs were infected once, 3 dogs demonstrated symptoms of babesiosis twice, one dog was infected three times and one dog had it five times. Babesiosis appeared in Spring and Autumn, despite the application of anti-tick treatment. No fatal cases were recorded, but in one case a splenectomy was performed due to splenomegaly and spleen rupture. Additionally, the abundance of the main Babesia canis vector, the Dermacentor reticulatus tick, was estimated and monitored during a 4-year period (2008-2012) close to the dog kennel. The abundance of questing ticks was high in 2008 and 2009, but dropped by 10-fold between 2010 and 2012, when the abandoned meadow was cut and used as horse pasture by the local farmer. The regular occurrence, typical seasonal pattern and identification of B. canis DNA in questing tick from this locality confirmed the establishment of a new hyper enzootic region for canine babesiosis. The effectiveness and schedule of applied preventive measures were discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The achievements of sled dogs in competitions depend both on their training and on their health. Vector-borne infections may lead to anaemia, affect joints or heart muscle or even cause death. Between December 2009 and October 2010, one hundred and twenty six individual blood samples were collected from 26 sled dog kennels situated in different regions of Poland. The majority of samples were taken during the racing season (winter 2009/10). The prevalences of 3 vector-borne infections- including 2 ‘old pathogens’ Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia canis, and ‘new pathogen’ Hepatozoon canis- were estimated in sled dogs using PCR and nested PCR. Additionally, 25 serum samples originating from a subset of 3 kennels situated in a tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) endemic area (Mazowiecki region), were tested for antibodies against the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). Because of the recently reported occurrence of Dirofilaria repens in Central Poland and that of fatal cases of unknown aetiology in two of the kennels, blood samples collected from dogs at these kennels in 2010 and in February-May 2013 and from two unaffected kennels were checked for evidence of presence of this parasite.
Babesia canis DNA was detected in 11 sled dogs (4 with clinical babesiosis, 7 asymptomatic; 8.7%) inhabiting mainly endemic regions of Poland (9/11 cases). Three serum samples originating from one location tested positive for TBEV antibodies (total seroprevalence: 3/25= 12%, local seroprevalence: 3/12= 25%). The risk of TBEV infection was associated with previous B. canis infections. Dirofilaria repens DNA was detected in 15 dogs (44%). Prevalence was especially high in two sled dog kennels situated near Grodzisk Mazowiecki (50-57%). No blood samples tested positive for A. phagocytophilum or H. canis DNA. The present study has established that the prevalence of vector-borne pathogens in working sled dogs is significant in the endemic regions and has justified the important role of surveillance of reservoir hosts in the epidemiology of TBE. Our results emphasize the need for regular monitoring for the presence of D. repens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction and objectives. Sporting dogs, including sled dogs, are particularly prone to tick-borne infection either due to training/racing in forest areas or through visits to endemic areas. The aim was to present tick-borne infections in a 6-dog racing team after a race in Estonia. Materials and methods. On the 4th day after return to Poland, the first dog presented with babesiosis symptoms and was diagnosed and treated accordingly. Next morning, the dog showed neurological symptoms and was diagnosed with tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Diagnosis was confirmed by a high level of IgG antibodies (922 IU/ml), detected in serum 3 months later. The second dog presented with babesiosis symptoms on the 7th day after return. Babesia DNA was extracted from blood, amplified and sequenced to answer the question of whether the dogs became infected during the race in Estonia or in Poland. Results and conclusions. Sequencing of a fragment of Babesia 18S rDNA revealed that these two isolates were identical to one another and closely related to the B. canis sequence originally isolated from the dog and Dermacentor reticulatus ticks in Poland. Thus, this is the first confirmed case of B.canis and TBEV co-infection and first confirmed case of TBE in a dog in Poland.
Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM 09/2013; 20(3):426-30. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microsporidia are intracellular parasites that cause opportunistic infections in humans of various immunological status. Only a few case reports exist on microsporidial infection in solid organ transplant recipients worldwide. The presented study demonstrates the first case in Poland of Enterocytozoon bieneusi infection in a liver transplant patient. Parasites were diagnosed in stool samples using both modified trichrome staining and PCR.
Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM 06/2013; 20(2):287-8. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Wild species are essential hosts for maintaining Ixodes ticks and the tick-borne diseases. The aim of our study was to estimate the prevalence, the rate of co-infection with Babesia, Bartonella, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and the molecular diversity of tick-borne pathogens in roe deer in Poland. Almost half of the tested samples provided evidence of infection with at least 1 species. A. phagocytophilum (37.3%) was the most common and Bartonella (13.4%) the rarest infection. A total of 18.3% of all positive samples from roe deer were infected with at least 2 pathogens, and one-third of those were co-infected with A. phagocytophilum, Bartonella, and Babesia species. On the basis of multilocus molecular studies we conclude that: (1) Two different genetic variants of A. phagocytophilum, zoonotic and nonzoonotic, are widely distributed in Polish roe deer population; (2) the roe deer is the host for zoonotic Babesia (Bab. venatorum, Bab. divergens), closely related or identical with strains/species found in humans; (3) our Bab. capreoli and Bab. divergens isolates differed from reported genotypes at 2 conserved base positions, i.e., positions 631 and 663; and (4) this is the first description of Bart. schoenbuchensis infections in roe deer in Poland. We present 1 of the first complex epidemiological studies on the prevalence of Babesia, Bartonella, and A. phagocytophilum in naturally infected populations of roe deer. These game animals clearly have an important role as reservoir hosts of tick-borne pathogens, but the pathogenicity and zoonotic potential of the parasite genotypes hosted by roe deer requires further detailed investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We isolated and characterized Eastern spiny mouse, Acomys dimidiatus microsatellite loci. A microsatellite-enriched library was created and A. dimidiatus fragments sequenced using 454 sequencing. In total, 1,221 primer-designable microsatellite sequences were identified. We designed primer sets for 20 loci. Loci were characterized in A. dimidiatus individuals from a semi-isolated desert wadi (valley) in St. Katherine Protectorate, Egypt. After initial trails, 18 microsatellite loci were genotyped in 67 mice. The number of alleles displayed in the 18 markers ranged from three to nine (mean = 6) with mean expected and observed heterozygosities of 0.63 and 0.65, respectively. All 18 selected loci were in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (P > 0.01). These markers will be used to investigate the fine-scale spatial patterns of genetic diversity and divergence of A. dimidiatus populations. The isolated loci are of potential utility in other murines, including 260 threatened species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose: The aims of this study were: (1) to estimate Babesia prevalence in the most common species of tick in Poland, Ixodes ricinus, in two recreational areas (Urwitałt in the Mazury Lake District and Bielański Forest in Warsaw), and (2) to evaluate the molecular diversity of Babesia isolates in questing I. ricinus in Poland.Material and Methods: Questing ticks were collected from vegetation in forest areas in Urwitałt near Mikołajki and in Bielański Forest (Warsaw). Purified genomic DNA was used with specific primers to amplify a fragment of the Babesia spp. 18S rRNA gene.Results: Tick-drag indices for I. ricinus were high in both study areas, reaching somewhat higher values in Urwitałt than in Bielański Forest. The overall prevalence of Babesia spp. in examined ticks was 1.6%. In Urwitałt, two strains of B. microti were identified using rRNA sequences: the enzootic Munich strain and an isolate close to the zoonotic Jena strain. The proportion of infections due to these two strains in questing ticks reversed over a six-year period. During 3 years of study in Bielański Forest, all Babesia isolates obtained from I. ricinus were identical to Babesia sp. EU1 (B. venatorum), previously recognized as an agent of human babesiosis.Conclusions: This study has confirmed the presence of enzoonotic and zoonotic Babesia species/strains in the abundant human-biting tick I. ricinus in recreational areas in Poland. It has also shown that the distribution of different genotypes has changed over time, however the reasons for these fluctuations still remain to be investigated.
Advances in Medical Sciences 09/2012; · 0.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cryptosporidium is an intestinal protozoan parasite prevalent in a wide range of mammals. Although it has been recorded in many hosts, its impact on endangered species is poorly understood. Here we present a preliminary study of four populations of the highly threatened spotted souslik (Spermophilus suslicus), living in the westernmost part of the species range. The populations inhabit fragmented habitats and suffer from loss of genetic variation. An IFA test revealed that 35.9% of sampled animals (41/114) was infected with Cryptosporidium and none with Giardia. The prevalence and infection intensity differed among the populations. In areas grazed by cattle it was about 3 folds higher, which suggests a possible transmission route. To the authors best knowledge the present study is the first report of Cryptosporidium infections in S. suslicus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epidemiology of Bartonella species infecting Apodemus flavicollis and Myodes glareolus in a forest in Eastern Poland was followed for 2 years using mark-recapture. Infections could be acquired in any month, but prevalence, and probability of infection, peaked in the summer. There were significant differences in the pattern of infections between the two species. Both hosts were primarily infected as juveniles, but the probability of infection was highest for A. flavicollis, which, evidence suggests, experienced longer-lasting infections with a wider range of Bartonella genotypes. There was no evidence of increased host mortality associated with Bartonella, although the infection did affect the probability of recapture. Animals could become re-infected, generally by different Bartonella genotypes. Several longer lasting, poorly resolved infections of A. flavicollis involved more than 1 genotype, and may have resulted from sequential infections. Of 22 Bartonella gltA genotypes collected, only 2 (both B. grahamii) were shared between mice and voles; all others were specific either to A. flavicollis or to M. glareolus, and had their nearest relatives infecting Microtus species in neighbouring fields. This heterogeneity in the patterns of Bartonella infections in wild rodents emphasizes the need to consider variation between both, host species and Bartonella genotypes in ecological and epidemiological studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Cryptosporidium and Giardia are intestinal parasites of humans and of many other species of animals. Water constitutes an important route of transmission for human infections in both developed and developing countries. In Poland, contamination of water sources with oocysts/cysts is not routinely monitored and scientific research in this field is scarce. Our aim was to compare the contamination of surface and treated water and thus the success of water treatment processes. Water samples (n=94) of between 30 l (surface water) to over 1000 l for tap water, were taken in the period of 2008-2009 using specially constructed equipment with cartridge filtration (Filta-Max; IDEXX, USA). Immunofluorescent assay, and nested polymerase chain reaction were used for the detection of parasites. Cryptosporidium oocysts were found in 85% of surface water and in 59% of raw (intake) water samples. Oocysts were also detected in treated water (16%) but were absent in samples of swimming pool water. The highest mean number of Cryptosporidium oocysts [geometric mean (GM)=61/10 l] was found in samples of rinsing water. Giardia cysts were observed in 61% of surface water samples, in 6% of raw water and in 19% of treated water, with the highest number of cysts noted in rinsing water samples (GM=70 cysts/10 l). Our study highlights the frequent occurrence of parasites in surface waters in Poland and the effectiveness of water treatment for the removal of parasites from drinking water.
Epidemiology and Infection 01/2012; 140(11):2014-22. · 2.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structure of helminth communities in wild rodents is subject to variation from several sources including extrinsic factors such as seasonal effects, time and site and intrinsic factors such as age. Here we report on the stability / variation in the prevalence and abundance of the dominant nematode parasites of bank voles in long-term studies across eleven years in 3 ecologically comparable woodland sites in Mazury Lake District region of Poland. Sourveys were conducted at the same time of the year in late summers of 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2010.
British Society for Parasitology Annual Spring Meeting, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK; 04/2011
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bartonella infections from wild mice and voles (Apodemus flavicollis, Mi. oeconomus, Microtus arvalis and Myodes glareolus) were sampled from a forest and old-field habitats of eastern Poland; a complex network of Bartonella isolates, referrable to B. taylorii, B. grahamii, B. birtlesii and B. doshiae, was identified by the sequencing of a gltA fragment, comparable to previous studies of Bartonella diversity in rodents. Nested clade analysis showed that isolates could be assigned to zero- and one-step clades which correlated with host identity and were probably the result of clonal expansion; however, sequencing of other housekeeping genes (rpoB, ribC, ftsZ, groEl) and the 16S RNA gene revealed a more complex situation with clear evidence of numerous recombinant events in which one or both Bartonella parents could be identified. Recombination within gltA was found to have generated two distinct variant clades, one a hybrid between B. taylorii and B. doshiae, the other between B. taylorii and B. grahamii. These recombinant events characterised the differences between the two-step and higher clades within the total nested cladogram, involved all four species of Bartonella identified in this work and appear to have played a dominant role in the evolution of Bartonella diversity. It is clear, therefore, that housekeeping gene phylogenies are not robust indicators of Bartonella diversity, especially when only a single gene (gltA or 16S RNA) is used. Bartonella clades infecting Microtus were most frequently involved in recombination and were most frequently tip clades within the cladogram. The role of Microtus in influencing the frequency of Bartonella recombination remains unknown.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Training and racing constitute serious challenges for working sled dogs. Attainment of the highest levels of stamina and speed are possible only by completely healthy dogs. Infections with nematodes as whipworm Trichuris sp. or hookworms Uncinaria/Ancylostoma can significantly reduce the fitness of working dogs leading to anemia or even to death. In the middle of the racing season, between December 2009 and April 2010, 108 individual fecal samples were collected from 25 sled dog kennels situated in different regions of Poland. Saturated salt flotation was performed for helminth egg detection. The immunofluorescent assay MeriFluor Cryptosporidium/Giardia and nested PCRs on 18S rRNA (Cryptosporidium spp.) and TPI gene (Giardia spp.) were carried out for detection of intestinal protozoa. Overall prevalence of 6 species of intestinal parasites was 68% in sled dogs (73/108). In 51 samples the eggs of a single species of helminth were detected (47%), two nematode species were detected in 13%, three species of nematodes were found in two dogs. The most prevalent helminths were the hookworms Uncinaria/Ancylostoma-identified in 36% of kennels, and in 34% of sled dogs. Toxocara eggs were detected in 36% of kennels, in 17% of dogs. Trichuris sp. eggs were found in 20% of kennels (5/25), in 13% of dogs. Cysts/oocysts of intestinal protozoa were detected in 31% of sled dogs. The most prevalent was Giardia spp. infection-in 54% of kennels [13/24], in 28% of dogs. Cryptosporidium spp. infections were identified in 37.5% of kennels [9/24], in 13% of dogs. Two sequenced Giardia isolates presented 100% homology with G. intestinalis Assemblage C isolate (AY228641.1), specific for dogs. A range of factors was shown to affect the prevalence of intestinal parasites in sled dogs. The highest prevalence of parasites was found among dogs from large kennels (housing >3 dogs), in dogs less than 2 years old, and in kennels, where prophylactic treatment was carried out 1-4 times a year. The present study has demonstrated a high prevalence of intestinal parasites in working sled dogs in Poland, including the zoonotic human pathogens Toxocara or Cryptosporidium.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prevalence and abundance of Bartonella spp. infections were studied over a 3-year period in woodland and grassland rodents in North-Eastern Poland. Prevalence of bacterial infections was similar in the two rodent communities, with one leading host species in each habitat (46.3% in Apodemus flavicollis versus 29.1% in Myodes glareolus in forest, or 36.9% in Microtus arvalis versus 13.7% in Mi. oeconomus in grassland). Prevalence/abundance of infections varied markedly across the 3 years with 2006 being the year of highest prevalence and abundance. Infections were more common during autumn months in My. glareolus and A. flavicollis, and in juvenile and young adult (age classes 1 and 2) My. glareolus and Mi. oeconomus than in adults (age class 3). Higher prevalence and abundance of Bartonella infections were found in male A. flavicollis in comparison to females. These data are discussed in relation to the parasite genotypes identified in this region and with respect to the role of various ecological factors influencing Bartonella spp. infections in naturally infected host populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes code for the proteins responsible for pathogen recognition. The MHC class II DRB gene is multiplicated in the bank vole, Myodes glareolus, with different numbers of loci found in different individuals. Possessing large numbers of loci should increase the probability of pathogen recognition, but according to the optimality hypothesis, there is a cost of possessing too many MHC alleles. Using 454 technology, we determined the individual DRB allelic diversity and related it to the load of intestinal parasites in voles collected from three sites separated by a distance of 12 to 27 km. The analysis of six microsatellite loci revealed significant population structure (F(ST) = 0.07). The sites differed significantly in the prevalence and abundance of nematode species as well. We found two significant associations between MHC alleles and the intensity of the infection with the most prevalent nematode, Aspiculuris tetraptera. One of these associations was population-specific. This result suggests that the directions of selection can differ between populations connected by a low level of gene flow, which may contribute to the maintenance of high DRB allele diversity. In accordance with the optimality hypothesis, individuals with an intermediate number of alleles carried the lowest number of nematode species and had the lowest prevalence of A. tetraptera. However, the intensity of infection with A. tetraptera was linearly and negatively associated with the number of alleles.