Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Birds as potential reservoirs of tick-borne pathogens: first evidence of bacteraemia with Rickettsia helvetica


Hornok, Sándor; Kováts, Dávid; Csörgő, Tibor; Meli, Marina L; Gönczi, Enikő; Hadnagy, Zsófia; Takács, Nóra; Farkas, Róbert; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina (2014). Birds as potential reservoirs of tick-borne pathogens: first evidence of bacteraemia with Rickettsia helvetica. Parasites & Vectors, 7:128.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Birds have long been known as carriers of ticks, but data from the literature are lacking on their role as a reservoir in the epidemiology of certain tick-borne disease-causing agents. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of three emerging, zoonotic tick-borne pathogens in blood samples and ticks of birds and to assess the impact of feeding location preference and migration distance of bird species on their tick infestation. METHODS Blood samples and ticks of birds were analysed with TaqMan real-time PCRs and conventional PCR followed by sequencing. RESULTS During the spring and autumn bird migrations, 128 blood samples and 140 ticks (Ixodes ricinus, Haemaphysalis concinna and a Hyalomma specimen) were collected from birds belonging to 16 species. The prevalence of tick infestation and the presence of tick species were related to the feeding and migration habits of avian hosts. Birds were shown to be bacteraemic with Rickettsia helvetica and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, but not with Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis. The prevalence of rickettsiae was high (51.4%) in ticks, suggesting that some of them may have acquired their infection from their avian host. CONCLUSION Based on the present results birds are potential reservoirs of both I. ricinus transmitted zoonotic pathogens, R. helvetica and A. phagocytophilum, but their epidemiological role appears to be less important concerning the latter, at least in Central Europe.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Birds have long been known as carriers of ticks, but data from the literature are lacking on their role as a reservoir in the epidemiology of certain tick-borne disease-causing agents. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of three emerging, zoonotic tick-borne pathogens in blood samples and ticks of birds and to assess the impact of feeding location preference and migration distance of bird species on their tick infestation. METHODS Blood samples and ticks of birds were analysed with TaqMan real-time PCRs and conventional PCR followed by sequencing. RESULTS During the spring and autumn bird migrations, 128 blood samples and 140 ticks (Ixodes ricinus, Haemaphysalis concinna and a Hyalomma specimen) were collected from birds belonging to 16 species. The prevalence of tick infestation and the presence of tick species were related to the feeding and migration habits of avian hosts. Birds were shown to be bacteraemic with Rickettsia helvetica and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, but not with Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis. The prevalence of rickettsiae was high (51.4%) in ticks, suggesting that some of them may have acquired their infection from their avian host. CONCLUSION Based on the present results birds are potential reservoirs of both I. ricinus transmitted zoonotic pathogens, R. helvetica and A. phagocytophilum, but their epidemiological role appears to be less important concerning the latter, at least in Central Europe.

Statistics

Citations

41 citations in Web of Science®
40 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

72 downloads since deposited on 24 Oct 2014
61 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:28 March 2014
Deposited On:24 Oct 2014 13:44
Last Modified:05 Aug 2017 15:31
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1756-3305
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-7-128
PubMed ID:24679245

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 219kB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)