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Seasonally biased or single-habitat sampling is not informative on the real prevalence of Dermacentor reticulatus-borne rickettsiae - a pilot study


Hornok, Sándor; Meli, Marina L; Gönczi, Enikő; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina (2017). Seasonally biased or single-habitat sampling is not informative on the real prevalence of Dermacentor reticulatus-borne rickettsiae - a pilot study. Acta Veterinaria Hungarica, 65(1):81-88.

Abstract

Dermacentor reticulatus is a tick species of high medical and veterinary importance, emerging in several parts of Europe. Up to now most studies focusing on zoonotic rickettsiae in D. reticulatus were based on ticks collected in a limited part of the questing period, and did not take into account the potential seasonal variations in the rate of infection with tick-borne rickettsiae. The aim of the present study was to investigate the latter phenomenon, i.e. to screen D. reticulatus adults, collected monthly in two urban habitats of Budapest, for the presence of three zoonotic Rickettsia spp. Altogether 852 D. reticulatus adults were collected, which showed significantly similar seasonal activity in the two evaluated habitats. Among the 413 molecularly analysed ticks, R. helvetica-infected D. reticulatus were only collected during autumn in habitat-1, in contrast to habitat-2. The overall prevalence of R. raoultii in D. reticulatus adults was significantly higher in habitat-1 than in habitat-2. In addition, the seasonal distribution of R. raoultii-infected ticks was different between the two habitats (in habitat-2 significantly more R. raoultii-infected ticks were collected in the autumn, in comparison with winter and spring). Rickettsia slovaca was not detected in any of the molecularly analysed ticks. The results clearly indicate that a single-time or seasonally biased collection of D. reticulatus adults and their subsequent molecular analysis may not be informative on the real prevalence of rickettsiae. This is because the availability/ activity of infected ticks shows significant seasonal fluctuations, both within and between habitats. Instead, for screening D. reticulatus-borne rickettsiae, it is important to collect monthly samples and then to assess seasonal prevalence and actual habitat-associated eco-epidemiological risks.

Abstract

Dermacentor reticulatus is a tick species of high medical and veterinary importance, emerging in several parts of Europe. Up to now most studies focusing on zoonotic rickettsiae in D. reticulatus were based on ticks collected in a limited part of the questing period, and did not take into account the potential seasonal variations in the rate of infection with tick-borne rickettsiae. The aim of the present study was to investigate the latter phenomenon, i.e. to screen D. reticulatus adults, collected monthly in two urban habitats of Budapest, for the presence of three zoonotic Rickettsia spp. Altogether 852 D. reticulatus adults were collected, which showed significantly similar seasonal activity in the two evaluated habitats. Among the 413 molecularly analysed ticks, R. helvetica-infected D. reticulatus were only collected during autumn in habitat-1, in contrast to habitat-2. The overall prevalence of R. raoultii in D. reticulatus adults was significantly higher in habitat-1 than in habitat-2. In addition, the seasonal distribution of R. raoultii-infected ticks was different between the two habitats (in habitat-2 significantly more R. raoultii-infected ticks were collected in the autumn, in comparison with winter and spring). Rickettsia slovaca was not detected in any of the molecularly analysed ticks. The results clearly indicate that a single-time or seasonally biased collection of D. reticulatus adults and their subsequent molecular analysis may not be informative on the real prevalence of rickettsiae. This is because the availability/ activity of infected ticks shows significant seasonal fluctuations, both within and between habitats. Instead, for screening D. reticulatus-borne rickettsiae, it is important to collect monthly samples and then to assess seasonal prevalence and actual habitat-associated eco-epidemiological risks.

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dermacentor reticulatus, Rickettsia, ticks, transovarial, transstadial
Language:English
Date:March 2017
Deposited On:27 Jan 2018 11:33
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:11
Publisher:Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN:0236-6290
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1556/004.2017.008
PubMed ID:28244333

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