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Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum : Prevalences and investigations on a new transmission path in small mammals and ixodid ticks


Obiegala, Anna; Pfeffer, Martin; Pfister, Kurt; Tiedemann, Tim; Thiel, Claudia; Balling, Anneliese; Karnath, Carolin; Woll, Dietlinde; Silaghi, Cornelia (2014). Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum : Prevalences and investigations on a new transmission path in small mammals and ixodid ticks. Parasites & Vectors, 7:563.

Abstract

Background: Small mammals are crucial for the life history of ixodid ticks, but their role and importance in the transmission cycle of tick-borne pathogens is mostly unknown. Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (CNM) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum are both tick-borne pathogens, and rodents are discussed to serve as main reservoir hosts for CNM but not for the latter especially in Germany. Analysing the prevalence of both pathogens in small mammals and their ticks in endemic regions may help to elucidate possible transmission paths in small mammal populations and between small mammals and ticks.
Methods: In 2012 and 2013, small mammals were trapped at three different sites in Germany. DNA was extracted from different small mammal tissues, from rodent neonates, foetuses and from questing and attached ticks. DNA samples were tested for CNM and A. phagocytophilum by real-time PCR. Samples positive for A. phagocytophilum were further characterized at the 16S rRNA gene locus.
Results: CNM was detected in 28.6% of small mammals and in 2.2% of questing and 3.8% of attached ticks. Altogether 33 positive ticks were attached to 17 different hosts, while positive ticks per host ranged between one and seven. The prevalences for this pathogen differed significantly within small mammal populations comparing sites (¿2: 13.3987; p: 0.0004) and between sexes. Male rodents had an approximately two times higher chance of infection than females (OR: 1.9652; 95%CI: 1.32-2.92). The prevalence for CNM was 31.8% (95%CI: 22-44) in rodent foetuses and neonates (23 of 67) from positive dams, and 60% (95%CI: 35.7-80.25) of positive gravid or recently parturient rodents (9 out of 15) had at least one positive foetus or neonate. Anaplasma phagocytophilum was detected at a low percentage in rodents (0-5.6%) and host-attached ticks (0.5-2.9%) with no significant differences between rodent species. However, attached nymphs were significantly more often infected than attached larvae (¿2:25.091; p: <0.0001).
Conclusion: This study suggests that CNM is mainly a rodent-associated pathogen and provides evidence for a potential transplacental transmission in rodents. In contrast, most of the rodent species captured likely represent only accidental hosts for A. phagocytophilum at the investigated sites.

Abstract

Background: Small mammals are crucial for the life history of ixodid ticks, but their role and importance in the transmission cycle of tick-borne pathogens is mostly unknown. Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (CNM) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum are both tick-borne pathogens, and rodents are discussed to serve as main reservoir hosts for CNM but not for the latter especially in Germany. Analysing the prevalence of both pathogens in small mammals and their ticks in endemic regions may help to elucidate possible transmission paths in small mammal populations and between small mammals and ticks.
Methods: In 2012 and 2013, small mammals were trapped at three different sites in Germany. DNA was extracted from different small mammal tissues, from rodent neonates, foetuses and from questing and attached ticks. DNA samples were tested for CNM and A. phagocytophilum by real-time PCR. Samples positive for A. phagocytophilum were further characterized at the 16S rRNA gene locus.
Results: CNM was detected in 28.6% of small mammals and in 2.2% of questing and 3.8% of attached ticks. Altogether 33 positive ticks were attached to 17 different hosts, while positive ticks per host ranged between one and seven. The prevalences for this pathogen differed significantly within small mammal populations comparing sites (¿2: 13.3987; p: 0.0004) and between sexes. Male rodents had an approximately two times higher chance of infection than females (OR: 1.9652; 95%CI: 1.32-2.92). The prevalence for CNM was 31.8% (95%CI: 22-44) in rodent foetuses and neonates (23 of 67) from positive dams, and 60% (95%CI: 35.7-80.25) of positive gravid or recently parturient rodents (9 out of 15) had at least one positive foetus or neonate. Anaplasma phagocytophilum was detected at a low percentage in rodents (0-5.6%) and host-attached ticks (0.5-2.9%) with no significant differences between rodent species. However, attached nymphs were significantly more often infected than attached larvae (¿2:25.091; p: <0.0001).
Conclusion: This study suggests that CNM is mainly a rodent-associated pathogen and provides evidence for a potential transplacental transmission in rodents. In contrast, most of the rodent species captured likely represent only accidental hosts for A. phagocytophilum at the investigated sites.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Language:English
Date:4 December 2014
Deposited On:16 Jan 2015 08:30
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 19:42
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1756-3305
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/PREACCEPT-2021441884132711
PubMed ID:25465390

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