[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasites are considered to be an important selective force in host evolution but ecological studies of host-parasite systems are usually short-term providing only snap-shots of what may be dynamic systems. We have conducted four surveys of helminths of bank voles at three ecologically similar woodland sites in NE Poland, spaced over a period of 11 years, to assess the relative importance of temporal and spatial effects on helminth infracommunities. Some measures of infracommunity structure maintained relative stability: the rank order of prevalence and abundance of
Heligmosomum mixtum, Heligmosomoides glareoli
changed little between the four surveys. Other measures changed markedly: dynamic changes were evident in
which declined to local extinction, while the capillariid
first appeared in 2002 and then increased in prevalence and abundance over the remaining three surveys. Some species are therefore dynamic and both introductions and extinctions can be expected in ecological time. At higher taxonomic levels and for derived measures, year and host-age effects and their interactions with site are important. Our surveys emphasize that the site of capture is the major determinant of the species contributing to helminth community structure, providing some predictability in these systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Dermacentor reticulatus plays an important role in the maintenance of pathogens of medical and veterinary importance in the environment. Currently two isolated populations of D. reticulatus are present in Poland -Western and Eastern. The range of the Eastern population covers endemic areas in eastern Poland but this population is expanding westwards creating an expansion zone in the centre of the country. The expansion zone in western Poland is occupied by the recently discovered Western population, spreading eastwards.
Questing adult ticks (n = 2585) were collected in 2012-2014 in endemic regions of north-eastern (Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship) and central Poland (Masovian Voivodeship) and in the expansion zones in central and western Poland, in the region between the Vistula River and the western border of the country. Amplification of Babesia, Rickettsia spp. and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato DNAs was performed using specific starters. RNA of the TBE virus was detected using RT-PCR and representative PCR products were sequenced and compared with sequences deposited in GenBank.
Of the total 2585 examined ticks, 1197 (46.3 %) were infected with at least one pathogen. Overall prevalence of pathogens was 4.18 % (108/2585) for Babesia spp., 44.10 % (1140/2585) for Rickettsia spp., 0.09 % (1/1107) for Borrelia afzelii and 7.6 % (7/92) for TBEV. Sequence analysis of DNA showed 99.86 % similarity to R. raoulti and 99.81 % to B. canis. One male from north-eastern Poland was infected with B. microti. Prevalence of R. raoulti was highest in the Western population (52.03 %) and lowest in the Eastern population in north-eastern Poland (34.18 %). Babesia canis was not detected in 592 ticks collected in the Western population, while in the Eastern population overall prevalence was 5.42 %. There were significant differences in the prevalence of B. canis between tick samples from northern (0.68 %), central (1.18 %) and southern (14.8 %) areas of the expansion zone in central Poland.
Our study found significant differences between the range and prevalence of vectored pathogens in D. reticulatus from the endemic areas and newly inhabited expansion zones. The differences were likely associated with the different time of settlement or 'source' of ticks populations, the Eastern and the Western one.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapid expansion of the tick Dermacentor reticulatus (Fabricius) has been reported in many European countries. In Poland its range was limited to the area on the eastern side of the Vistula River up until the 1990s. However, new foci were recently discovered, while the centre of the country and mountain regions are believed to be free of this tick and are known as "the gap". A few unconfirmed factors, like unfavourable weather conditions, changes in land cover and absence of competent hosts have previously been reported as possible reasons for the absence of D. reticulatus in this area. Since D. reticulatus plays an important role for the maintenance and the circulation of tick-borne pathogens, we (1) determined its actual range in Poland, (2) monitored its expansion in 2012-2014 and (3) correlated abiotic conditions on its known range. Dragging was conducted in the area between the Vistula River and the western border of Poland in 2012-2014, along the three major Polish rivers and their tributaries. Temperature and humidity on the ground were recorded 4 times a day at a total of 32 sites. D. reticulatus was found in 21 new locations on the western side of the Vistula River and in 22 locations in western Poland. The presence of this tick species was confirmed for the first time in Wielkopolskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Łódzkie voivodeships. Existence of 'the gap' was confirmed on a strip of land along the northwest-southeast axis (an area of approximately 151000km(2)), that extends between Zachodniopomorskie and Pomorskie in the North, and the mountain areas with foothills in the South, in Opolskie, Śląskie, Małopolskie and Podkarpackie voivodeships. This gap divides the tick population in Poland into two separated populations - Western and Eastern. The lowest abundance of ticks was found in the newly established foci in central and western Poland. Our study showed the need for the monitoring of the D. reticulatus expansion. Early detection of new foci is crucial for taking proper prevention measures.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ttbdis.2015.09.003 · 2.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: According to Fisher's Principle, an equal sex ratio is an evolutionary stable strategy. However, biased sex ratios have been reported in many metazoan parasite species, although the causes and mechanisms of the observed bias are still poorly understood. In the present study, we analysed sex ratios in long-term datasets from three populations of bank voles (Clethrionomys (=Myodes) glareolus) infected with Heligmosomum mixtum and Heligmosomoides glareoli. The overall sex ratios of both species were female-biased but in contrast to previous studies we did not find a relationship between the proportion of females and infection intensity. A higher female bias was observed in older hosts, suggesting that the sex ratio changes over time; the lifespan of nematodes in the family Heligmosomidae is known to be comparable with that of their hosts. We also compared the distributions of sexes in voles infected with two, three, four or five worms and we found significant differences from the expected values in both parasite species. In infections with four and five H. glareoli we observed more single-sex infections than expected, both female- and male-dominated, whereas in the case of H. mixtum female-dominated infections were more frequent.
International journal for parasitology 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2015.08.002 · 3.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Babesia spp. (Apicomplexa, Piroplasmida) are obligate parasites of many species of mammals, causing a malaria-like infection- babesiosis. Three routes of Babesia infection have been recognized to date. The main route is by a tick bite, the second is via blood transfusion. The third, vertical route of infection is poorly recognized and understood. Our study focused on vertical transmission of B. microti in a well-established mouse model. We assessed the success of this route of infection in BALB/c mice with acute and chronic infections of B. microti. In experimental groups, females were mated on the 1st day of Babesia infection (Group G0); on the 28th day post infection (dpi) in the post- acute phase of the parasite infection (G28); and on the 90th and 150th dpi (G90 and G150 group, respectively), in the chronic phase of the parasite infection. Pups were obtained from 58% of females mated in the post-acute phase (G28) and from 33% of females in groups G90 and G150. Mice mated in the pre-acute phase of infection (G0) did not deliver pups. Congenital B. microti infections were detected by PCR amplification of Babesia 18S rDNA in almost all pups (96%) from the experimental groups G28, G90 and G150. Parasitaemia in the F1 generation was low and varied between 0.01-0.001%. Vertical transmission of B. microti was demonstrated for the first time in BALB/c mice.
PLoS ONE 09/2015; 10(9):e0137731. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0137731 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and house mice (Mus musculus musculus; M. m. domesticus) in Europe are each parasitized by their own distinct species of Aspiculuris (Nematoda, Oxyurida) The molecular phylogeny and morphology of the oxyuroid nematode genus Aspiculuris from voles and house mice has been examined. Worms collected from Myodes glareolus in Poland, Eire and the UK are identified as Aspiculuris tianjinen-sis, previously known only from China, while worms from Mus musculus from a range of locations in Europe and from laboratory mice, all conformed to the description of Aspiculuris tetraptera. Worms from voles and house mice are not closely related and are not derived from each other, with A. tianjinensis being most closely related to Aspiculuris dinniki from snow voles and to an isolate from Microtus longicaudus in the Nearctic. Both A. tianjinensis and A. tetraptera appear to represent recent radiations within their host groups; in voles, this radiation cannot be more than 2 million years old, while in commensal house mice it is likely to be less than 10 000 years old. The potential of Aspiculuris spp. as markers of host evolution is highlighted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite causing intestinal infections. A prolonged course of infection is often observed in immunocompromised individuals. In Europe, less than 100 cases of C. cayetanensis infection have been reported to date, almost all of which being diagnosed in individuals after travelling abroad.
We described cases of three businessmen who developed acute traveller's diarrhoea after they returned to Poland from Indonesia. One of the travellers was a renal transplant recipient having ongoing immunosuppressive treatment. In each case, acute and prolonged diarrhoea and other intestinal disorders occurred. Oocysts of C. cayetanensis were identified in faecal smears of two of the travellers (one immunosuppressed and one immunocompetent). Diagnosis was confirmed by the successful amplification of parasite DNA (18S rDNA). A co-infection with Blastocystis hominis was identified in the immunocompetent man.
Infection of C. cayetanensis shall be considered as the cause of prolonged acute diarrhoea in immunocompromised patients returning from endemic regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parasite-mediated selection may contribute to the maintenance of genetic variation at host immune genes over long time scales. To date, the best evidence for the long-term maintenance of immunogenetic variation in natural populations comes from studies on the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, whereas evidence for such processes from other immune genes remains scarce. In the present study, we show that, despite pronounced population differentiation and the occurrence of numerous private alleles within populations, the innate immune gene Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) displays a distinct haplotype structure in 21 bank vole (Myodes glareolus) populations across Europe. Haplotypes from all populations grouped in four clearly differentiated clusters, with the three main clusters co-occurring in at least three previously described mitochondrial lineages. This pattern indicates that the distinct TLR2 haplotype structure may precede the split of the mitochondrial lineages 0.19–0.56 Mya and suggests that haplotype clusters at this innate immune receptor are maintained over prolonged time in wild bank vole populations.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 06/2015; 116(1). DOI:10.1111/bij.12593 · 2.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most common tick species parasitizing animals in Poland are Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus. These tick species differ in their distribution, habitats, seasonal activity and host specificity. Ixodes ricinus is the most prevalent and widely distributed, whereas the range of D. reticulatus is limited to eastern and central parts of the country with several new foci in the middle-west and the west. However, as in many central European countries, the range of D. reticulatus is expanding, and some authors have correlated this expansion with an increasing number of available hosts. The aim of the present study was to determine the tick fauna on domestic and livestock animals in two areas endemic for I. ricinus and D. reticulatus and to compare the risk of infestation with different tick species in open and forest areas. Over a 14 month period, 732 ticks were collected from five host species including domestic animals (dogs and cats), livestock (cows and horses) and wildlife (European bison) in two areas, central and NE Poland, endemic for D. reticulatus. Three tick species were recorded: D. reticulatus (623 individuals; 85.1 % of all collected ticks), I. ricinus (106 individuals; 14.5 %) and three females of Ixodes hexagonus (0.4 %) from a dog. Dermacentor reticulatus was the dominant tick species found on four host species and constituted 86, 81, 97 and 100 % of all ticks from dogs, horses, cows and bison, respectively, and was collected from animals throughout the year, including during the winter. The common tick, I. ricinus, was the dominant tick collected from cats (94 %). Fully-engorged, ready-for-reproduction females of D. reticulatus were collected from all host species. In May 2012, questing ticks were collected by dragging in forest or open habitats. The density of adult marsh ticks in open areas was around 2 ticks/100 m(2) in the majority of locations, with a maximum of 9.5 ticks/100 m(2). The density of adult I. ricinus was much lower in its typical habitat (forests: range 0.8-2.2 ticks/100 m(2)) between three and seven times lower than the density of D. reticulatus in its typical habitat. In regions endemic for marsh ticks, this tick species constitutes the main risk of tick infestation for livestock and dogs throughout the year. Livestock and companion animals are competent hosts for D. reticulatus, enabling the completion of the tick's life cycle. Anti-tick treatment should be adjusted to marsh tick seasonal activity and drug sensitivity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Although a number of new species of Babesia/ Theileria have been described recently, there are still relatively few reports of species from Africa. In this study based on the evaluation of morphology and phylogenetic relationships, we describe a novel species from Wagner¿s gerbil, Babesia behnkei n. sp.Methods
Rodents (n¿=¿1021) were sampled in four montane valleys (wadies) in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2013 in the Sinai Mountains, Egypt. The overall prevalence of Babesia spp. was highest in the Wagner¿s gerbil (Dipodillus dasyurus; 38.7%) in comparison to the prevalence in the spiny mice species, Acomys dimidiatus and A. russatus. Morphological investigations were conducted for the comparison of trophozoites of the novel species of Babesia with the B. microti King¿s 67 reference strain. Thirty-two isolates derived from D. dasyurus over a 9 year period (2004-2012) from two wadies (29 isolates from Wadi Gebel and 3 from Wadi El-Arbaein) were investigated by microscopic, molecular and phylogenetic analysis. A near-full-length sequence of the 18S rRNA gene and the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) region were amplified, sequenced and used for the construction of phylogenetic trees.ResultsA novel species of Babesia was identified in two isolated populations of D. dasyurus. Phylogenetic analysis of 18S rDNA and ITS2 sequences revealed that B. behnkei n. sp. is most closely related to B. lengau from cheetahs from South Africa and to Nearctic species found only in North America (the pathogenic B. duncani and B. conradae) and that it is more distant to the cosmopolitan rodent parasite B. microti. Trophozoites of B. behnkei were smaller and less polymorphic than trophozoites of B. microti.Conclusion Babesia behnkei n. sp. is a novel species of the `Duncani group¿ maintained in isolated populations of Dipodillus dasyurus occurring in the Sinai Mountains of Egypt.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abundance and prevalence of helminth infections often differ between host sexes, and are usually biased in favor of males. Relatively few cases of female-biased parasitism have been reported. We sampled bank voles in three woodland sites in N.E. Poland over 11 years at 3–4-year intervals, and assessed their parasite burdens. Prevalence and abundance of the stomach nematode Mastophorus muris were consistently higher among females. Among adult female bank voles from the two sites that showed the highest prevalence with M. muris, both prevalence and abundance were significantly higher in lactating bank voles, but not pregnant animals, and the effect of lactation was evident in both sites, in all four surveys, and in both age classes. Although the magnitude of the effect of lactation varied between years, it was not confounded by any significant interactions with other factors. We hypothesize that mature and reproductively active female bank voles are subject to higher exposure compared with males of similar age, as a consequence of the increased content of invertebrates in their diet, including the intermediate hosts of M. muris, required to meet the higher increased energy and protein demands of nursing litters throughout the summer months.
Parasitology Research 11/2014; 114(2). DOI:10.1007/s00436-014-4214-0 · 2.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction and objective:
Tick-borne infections constitute an increasing health problem in dogs and may lead to death, especially in young or elderly individuals. Canine babesiosis constitutes a serious health problem in dogs worldwide. The aim of the study was to verify the probability of vertical transmission of Babesia canis between the bitch and the pups.
Materials and methods:
In Autumn 2011, cases of babesiosis were diagnosed in a litter of 6-week-old puppies of a Central Asian Shepherd dog. Immediately following the first case of infection, blood samples were collected from all the pups in the litter (n=10) and from the female. Detection of Babesia infection was performed by molecular and microscopical techniques.
The presence of B. canis DNA was detected using PCR in three pups, presenting at the time or 24-48 hours later with babesiosis symptoms, and in their asymptomatic mother. The isolates derived from the pups and the female - 520 bp 18S rRNA gene fragment - were compared and analyzed. All isolates from the pups and their mother were identical and showed 100% homology with B. canis group B (EU622793), supporting the same source of infection. Additionally, the USG of the peritoneal cavity was performed in the female, presenting evidence for splenomegaly.
On the basis of (1) the same timing of three pup cases; (2) the identical B. canis sequences derived from all positive dogs; (3) evident splenomegaly in the asymptomatic female, this provides the first evidence of the vertical transmission of this piroplasm in dogs.
Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM 09/2014; 21(3):500-3. DOI:10.5604/12321966.1120590 · 1.13 Impact Factor
[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. DOI:10.5604/1232-1966.1108584 · 1.13 Impact Factor
[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.
[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