The southernmost foci of Dermacentor reticulatus in Italy and associated Babesia canis infection in dogs.
ABSTRACT: Two clustered clinical cases of canine babesiosis were diagnosed by veterinary practitioners in two areas of northeastern Italy close to natural parks. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of babesial infection in dogs, the etiological agents that cause canine babesiosis and the potential tick vector for the involved Babesia spp.The study area was represented by two parks in northeastern Italy: Groane Regional Park (Site A) and the Ticino Valley Lombard Park (Site B). From March to May 2015 ticks were collected from the vegetation in three transects in each site. In the same period, blood samples were collected from 80 dogs randomly chosen from veterinary clinics and kennel located in the two areas. Morphological identification of the ticks was performed and six specimens were molecularly characterised by the amplification and sequencing of partial mitochondrial 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA and cox1 genes. For phylogenetic analyses, sequences herein obtained for all genes and those available from GenBank for other Dermacentor spp. were included. Dog serum samples were analysed with a commercial indirect fluorescent antibody test to detect the presence of IgG antibodies against Babesia canis. Ticks and blood samples were tested by PCR amplification using primers targeting 18S rRNA gene of Babesia spp.Ticks collected (n = 34) were morphologically identified as adults of D. reticulatus. Twenty-eight ticks were found in all transects from Site A and the remaining six were collected in Site B. Blast analysis of mitochondrial sequences confirmed the morphological identification of processed tick specimens by revealing a highest nucleotide similarity (99-100%) with those of D. reticulatus available in the GenBank database. The phylogenetic trees were concordant in clustering D. reticulatus in a monophyletic clade. Seven dogs (8.8%) had antibodies against B. canis, most of which (n = 6) came from Site A. Analysis of nucleotide sequences obtained from one tick and from one dog identified B. canis displayed a 100% similarity to those available in GenBank.This study morphologically and molecularly confirms the presence of D. reticulatus in Italy and links it, for the first time, with the occurrence of B. canis infection in dogs in this country.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The United Kingdom is considered free of autochthonous transmission of canine babesiosis although cases are reported in dogs associated with recent travel abroad. During the winter months of 2015/16, a cluster of cases of disease in dogs with signs suggestive of canine babesiosis were reported in Harlow, Essex. METHODS:Babesia species were detected in dog blood samples by Giemsa staining of blood smears and by pan-piroplasm PCRs. Babesia species were also detected in extracts of tick DNA using pan-piroplasm PCRs. DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis was used to confirm the species of Babesia present in dog blood and tick samples. Tick species were identified by PCR-sequencing based on amplification of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit one (cox1) gene. Dermacentor reticulatus ticks were sampled from field sites in England and Wales. RESULTS:Blood smear analysis on samples taken from some of the affected dogs confirmed the presence of a large Babesia species within erythrocytes. A tick recovered from one of these cases was identified as Dermacentor reticulatus, a species with a limited distribution in England and Wales, but a known vector of canine babesiosis in continental Europe. Babesia canis was subsequently identified in blood samples obtained from three clinical cases (all dogs) within the area and from ticks associated with these dogs. A field survey detected 17 adult D. reticulatus ticks from one area visited by the affected dogs. Fourteen of these ticks were shown to be positive for the B. canis parasite, implicating them as a potential source for babesiosis in Harlow. In order to assess whether the parasite is present in more than one tick population, D. reticulatus ticks from across England and Wales were screened for the presence of Babesia species. In addition to the Harlow site, a further five locations where D. reticulatus is present were screened for Babesia species. Babesia was not detected from most sites tested but one tick from a single location in Wales was positive for B. canis. CONCLUSIONS:Infection with B. canis was confirmed in a number of dogs in Harlow, Essex, with no history of travel outside of the country. The same pathogen was identified in field-caught D. reticulatus ticks in the same area and is considered the likely source of infection. This highlights the need for vigilance by veterinary surgeons for future outbreaks of tick-borne disease in dogs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Canine babesiosis due to Babesia canis is an endemic disease in many European countries. A vaccine is available in some countries, but it does not prevent the infection and just helps in reducing the gravity of clinical signs. Therefore, the major way to help preventing the disease is by controlling tick infestations on dogs.To assess the preventive efficacy of afoxolaner (NexGard®), a new oral anti- flea and tick product, against Babesia canis infected adult Dermacentor reticulatus in an experimentally controlled study. METHODS: Sixteen healthy mixed breed adult dogs, negative for Babesia canis antibodies were included in a single centre, randomized, blinded and controlled study to evaluate the impact of treatment with afoxolaner on the transmission of Babesia canis to dogs exposed to Dermacentor reticulatus. The dogs were randomly allocated into two groups of 8 dogs each. One group remained untreated. In the other group, dogs were treated orally with a novel formulation of afoxolaner (NexGard®) on day 0. All dogs were infested each by 50 adult Dermacentor reticulatus ticks (equal sex ratio) at days 7, 14, 21 and 28. The Dermacentor reticulatus ticks were confirmed to harbour Babesia canis by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). RESULTS: The treatment was well tolerated by all dogs without any adverse effects. Babesia canis was transmitted by D. reticulatus to all untreated control dogs, confirmed following demonstration of hyperthermia, detection of B. canis parasites in blood smears and PCR assay from blood and serology. These confirmed infected dogs were subsequently treated with imidocarb and diminazene. The treated dogs remained negative based on all criteria until the last study, Day 56, confirming that the oral treatment of dogs with NexGard® prevented transmission of Babesia canis and development of clinical babesiosis for up to 28 days. CONCLUSION: This is the first demonstration that an oral acaricidal treatment may prevent the transmission of a pathogen despite the need for the tick to attach and start feeding before being killed by the acaricide.
Project description:Canine babesiosis is an emerging or re-emerging disease caused by Babesia and Theileria protozoans, also called piroplasms, transmitted by Ixodid ticks. In Europe, four etiological agents have been identified to date, namely Babesia canis, B. vogeli, B. gibsoni and Theileria annae. France has a high prevalence of canine babesiosis and two tick species, Dermacentor reticulatus and Rhipicephalus sanguineus, are supposed to transmit B. canis and B. vogeli respectively. In southern France, where dog infections with B. vogeli were recently confirmed, no comprehensive study was performed to date on piroplasm species infecting dogs. Thus, a large scale survey involving veterinary clinics, kennels and tick collection from the environment was conducted from 2010 to 2012 in this area.From 2010 to 2012, 140 dog blood samples and 667 ticks were collected. All blood and a subset of ticks were screened for the presence of piroplasms by PCR amplification of 18S rDNA. B. vogeli, B. canis and T. annae were detected in 13.6, 12.9 and 0.7 % dogs respectively. B. vogeli and B. canis were detected in 10.5 % and in 1.6 % R. sanguineus ticks including 1.3 % co-infections. B. canis was the only species detected in D. reticulatus ticks (9.7 %). B. canis infections were only recorded in the southwest of France whereas B. vogeli was mainly found in the southeast. Finally, a significantly higher prevalence of B. vogeli infection was found in Gard compared to Corsica and Drôme regions, both in dogs (p < 0.002) and R. sanguineus ticks (p < 0.02) although R. sanguineus was the main ticks species removed from dogs in those three areas.The survey confirmed the circulation of both B. canis and B. vogeli in dogs in southern France with differences in distribution probably linked to the distribution of their respective vectors. It also showed differences in prevalence of B. vogeli infection in areas similar in terms of risk of dogs infestation with R. sanguineus. Further studies focusing on genetic and microbiota of R. sanguineus ticks should be conducted to explore other biological interactions that may explain the differences observed.
Project description:A total of 853 questing Ixodes ricinus males, females, and nymphs and of 582 questing Dermacentor reticulatus males and females were collected from vegetation on the territory of the Lublin province (eastern Poland). The ticks were examined for the presence of Babesia by PCR detecting part of 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene and nuclear small subunit rRNA (SS-rDNA) for determining of Babesia spp. and Babesia microti, respectively. The overall incidence of Babesia strains in I. ricinus ticks was 4.6%. Three species of Babesia were identified. The prevalent species was B. microti which occurred in 2.8% of ticks, while Babesia venatorum, Babesia divergens, and unidentified Babesia species were found at the frequency of 1.2, 0.2, and 0.3%, respectively. Altogether, B. microti constituted 61.5% of the total strains detected in I. ricinus, B. venatorum-25.7%, B. divergens-5.1%, and unidentified Babesia species-7.7%. The prevalence of Babesia species in I. ricinus did not depend significantly on locality (?(2)?=?1.885, P?=?0.390) nor on the tick stage (?(2)?=?4.874, P?=?0.087). The incidence of Babesia strains in D. reticulatus ticks was 2.7%. Two species of Babesia were identified. Again, the prevalent species was B. microti which occurred in 2.1% of ticks, while B. canis was found in 0.7% of ticks. In one D. reticulatus female, B. canis and B. microti co-infection was found. Altogether, B. microti constituted 75% of the total strains detected in D. reticulatus while B. canis formed 25% of the total strains. The frequency of the occurrence of Babesia species in D. reticulatus did not depend significantly on locality (?(2)?=?0.463, P?=?0.793). The difference between the prevalence of Babesia in males and females of D. reticulatus was insignificant (P?=?0.0954); nymphs were not found. The dominance of B. microti in the species composition of tick-borne Babesia found in this study was typical for eastern Europe. In conclusion, the results revealed that the population inhabiting the forested area of eastern Poland could be exposed to Babesia parasites, especially to those from the species B. microti, by a bite of I. ricinus, a competent vector of human babesiosis, and probably also by a bite of D. reticulatus whose role in the transmission of human babesiosis needs to be clarified.
Project description:The hard tick Dermacentor reticulatus transmits Babesia canis, the causative agent of canine babesiosis. Both the occurrence and local distribution of D. reticulatus as well as infection rates of questing ticks with B. canis are thus far poorly known in Bavaria, Germany. The objectives of this study were to conduct (1) a georeferenced field study on the occurrence of D. reticulatus with digital habitat characterization and (2) a PCR analysis of D. reticulatus collected in Bavaria for infection with B. canis. Dermacentor reticulatus were collected by flagging at 60 sites specifically selected according to habitat conditions and screened individually for Babesia DNA. A digital habitat characterization for D. reticulatus was performed according to results of the field analysis including the parameters land use, proximity to water, "potential natural vegetation", red deer corridors and climate data. Altogether, 339 D. reticulatus ticks (214 females and 125 males) were collected between 2010 and 2013 at 12 out of 60 sampling sites. All 12 sites were characterized by high humidity with marshy areas. Babesia canis DNA was detected in 1 out of 301 (0.3%) questing D. reticulatus in Bavaria. The digital habitat characterization revealed 15 forest areas in Bavaria with similar ecological characteristics as the sites positive for D. reticulatus.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Species of Canidae in Russia can be infested with up to 24 different tick species; however, the frequency of different tick species infesting domestic dogs across Russia is not known. In addition, tick-borne disease risks for domestic dogs in Russia are not well quantified. The goal of this study was to conduct a nationwide survey of ticks collected from infested dogs admitted to veterinary clinics in Russian cities and to identify pathogens found in these ticks. METHODS:Ticks feeding on dogs admitted to 32 veterinary clinics in 27 major cities across Russia were preserved in ethanol and submitted to a central facility for examination. After identification, each tick was evaluated for infection with known tick-borne pathogens using PCR. RESULTS:There were 990 individual ticks collected from 636 dogs. All collected ticks belonged to the Ixodidae (hard ticks) and represented 11 species of four genera, Dermacentor, Ixodes, Rhipicephalus and Haemaphysalis. Four most common tick species were D. reticulatus, followed by I. persulcatus, I. ricinus and R. sanguineus. Ixodes persulcatus ticks were found to be infected with 10 different pathogens, and ticks of this species were more frequently infected than either D. reticulatus or I. ricinus. Ixodes persulcatus females were also more frequently co-infected with two or more pathogens than any other tick. Pathogenic species of five genera were detected in ticks: Anaplasma centrale, A. phagocytophilum and A. marginale; Babesia canis, B. microti, B. venatorum, B. divergens, B. crassa and B. vogeli; Borrelia miyamotoi, B. afzelii and B. garinii; Ehrlichia muris, E. canis and E. ruminantum; and Theileria cervi. Anaplasma marginale, E. canis, B. crassa, B. vogeli and T. cervi were detected in I. persulcatus, and Babesia canis in D. marginatum, for the first time in Russia. CONCLUSIONS:Multiple ticks from four genera and 11 species of the family Ixodidae were collected from domestic dogs across Russia. These ticks commonly carry pathogens and act as disease vectors. Ixodes persulcatus ticks present the greatest risk for transmission of multiple arthropod-borne pathogens.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Although Ixodes spp. are the most common ticks in North-Western Europe, recent reports indicated an expanding geographical distribution of Dermacentor reticulatus in Western Europe. Recently, the establishment of a D. reticulatus population in Belgium was described. D. reticulatus is an important vector of canine and equine babesiosis and can transmit several Rickettsia species, Coxiella burnetii and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), whilst Ixodes spp. are vectors of pathogens causing babesiosis, borreliosis, anaplasmosis, rickettsiosis and TBEV. METHODS: A survey was conducted in 2008-2009 to investigate the presence of different tick species and associated pathogens on dogs and cats in Belgium. Ticks were collected from dogs and cats in 75 veterinary practices, selected by stratified randomization. All collected ticks were morphologically determined and analysed for the presence of Babesia spp., Borrelia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Rickettsia DNA. RESULTS: In total 2373 ticks were collected from 647 dogs and 506 cats. Ixodes ricinus (76.4%) and I. hexagonus (22.6%) were the predominant species. Rhipicephalus sanguineus (0.3%) and D. reticulatus (0.8%) were found in low numbers on dogs only. All dogs infested with R. sanguineus had a recent travel history, but D. reticulatus were collected from a dog without a history of travelling abroad. Of the collected Ixodes ticks, 19.5% were positive for A. phagocytophilum and 10.1% for Borrelia spp. (B. afzelii, B. garinii, B. burgdorferi s.s., B. lusitaniae, B. valaisiana and B. spielmanii). Rickettsia helvetica was found in 14.1% of Ixodes ticks. All Dermacentor ticks were negative for all the investigated pathogens, but one R. sanguineus tick was positive for Rickettsia massiliae. CONCLUSION: D. reticulatus was confirmed to be present as an indigenous parasite in Belgium. B. lusitaniae and R. helvetica were detected in ticks in Belgium for the first time.
Project description:Tick-borne diseases are a major health risk for humans and dogs. In addition to collection and analysis of questing ticks, analysis of host-associated ticks for the presence of pathogens is a valuable method to gain insight into transmission patterns of tick-borne diseases.Ticks were collected from dogs living in the Berlin/Brandenburg area. The three tick species Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes hexagonus and Dermacentor reticulatus were examined for the presence of Babesia spp., Borrelia spp., Rickettsia spp. and Anaplasmataceae. Conventional PCR followed by sequencing was used for pathogen detection and characterization.Babesia spp. were found in 2.5% and 3% of I. ricinus and I. hexagonus, respectively. Sequencing revealed the presence of Babesia microti, Babesia capreoli and Babesia venatorum. D. reticulatus were free of Babesia canis. Rickettsia spp. were detected in 61% of I. ricinus, 44% of I. hexagonus and 39% of D. reticulatus. Specifically detected were Rickettsia raoulti in D. reticulatus and I. hexagonus, Rickettsia helvetica in I. ricinus and I. hexagonus and Rickettsia monacensis in I. hexagonus. Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis have been reported previously in I. ricinus (6.5% and 4.3%, respectively) and I. hexagonus (3.9% and 5.9%). Borrelia spp. were found in 11.6% of I. ricinus and 11.2% of I. hexagonus. Subsequent genospecies analysis revealed Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto and Borrelia miyamotoi. Simultanous presence of more than one pathogen was found in 20% of I. ricinus and in 59% of I. hexagonus whereas the total frequency of any pathogen was 65% in I. ricinus, 59% in I. hexagonus and 64% in D. reticulatus. Ticks in which A. phagocytophilum was detected had a significantly increased risk of also containing Rickettsia. Ticks harbouring a pathogen had significantly higher scutal indices than ticks without presence of any pathogen.Frequencies of potential human or canine pathogens in ticks were considerable and DNA of all four groups of pathogens was detected. Differences in scutal indices might suggest that pathogens are frequently taken up by ticks when feeding on dogs in Berlin/Brandenburg.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Different tick species are able to transmit different pathogens, and tick-borne diseases are of substantial concern worldwide for both humans and animals. Environmental changes and changes in the range of tick species, including Dermacentor reticulatus in Europe, can affect the spread of zoonotic pathogens. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of the tick-borne pathogens in ticks removed from dogs in Latvia, and to explore possible changes between years 2011 and 2016. RESULTS:In 2011, only Ixodes ticks (221 Ixodes ricinus and 22 Ixodes persulcatus) were collected from dogs, while in 2016 tick samples belonged to Ixodes ricinus (360), Ixodes persulcatus (2) and Dermacentor reticulatus (27) species. In total, 35.8 and 40.0% of adult ticks were pathogen-positive in 2011 and 2016, respectively; the difference was not statistically significant (P?>?0.05). The molecular analysis indicated the presence of 13 tick-borne microorganisms; the most prevalent pathogen was Rickettsia, followed by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group spirochetes, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia species. Borrelia miyamotoi was also present. A co-infection with two and three tick-borne pathogens was detected in 7.9 and 7.4% of Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus, respectively. The results of this study confirmed that the spread of novel vectors could bring additional risk of exposure to novel emerging pathogens to pets and their owners, as both Babesia canis and Rickettsia raoultii were shown to be highly associated with Dermacentor reticulatus ticks in Latvia. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrates the potential danger from the inadvertent introduction of novel disease pathogens and vectors. Awareness of co-infections and Dermacentor reticulatus-related pathogens needs to be increased.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Apicomplexan tick-borne pathogens that cause disease in companion animals include species of Babesia Starcovici, 1893, Cytauxzoon Neitz & Thomas, 1948, Hepatozoon Miller, 1908 and Theileria Bettencourt, Franca & Borges, 1907. The only apicomplexan tick-borne disease of companion animals that is known to occur in Australia is babesiosis, caused by Babesia canis vogeli Reichenow, 1937 and Babesia gibsoni Patton, 1910. However, no molecular investigations have widely investigated members of Apicomplexa Levine, 1980 in Australian ticks that parasitise dogs, cats or horses, until this present investigation. RESULTS:Ticks (n = 711) removed from dogs (n = 498), cats (n = 139) and horses (n = 74) throughout Australia were screened for piroplasms and Hepatozoon spp. using conventional PCR and Sanger sequencing. The tick-borne pathogen B. vogeli was identified in two Rhipicephalus sanguineus Latreille ticks from dogs residing in the Northern Territory and Queensland (QLD). Theileria orientalis Yakimov & Sudachenkov, 1931 genotype Ikeda was detected in three Haemaphysalis longicornis Neumann ticks from dogs in New South Wales. Unexpectedly, the exotic tick-borne pathogen Hepatozoon canis James, 1905 was identified in an Ixodes holocyclus Neumann tick from a dog in QLD. Eight novel piroplasm and Hepatozoon species were identified and described in native ticks and named as follows: Babesia lohae n. sp., Babesia mackerrasorum n. sp., Hepatozoon banethi n. sp., Hepatozoon ewingi n. sp., Theileria apogeana n. sp., Theileria palmeri n. sp., Theileria paparinii n. sp. and Theileria worthingtonorum n. sp. Additionally, a novel cf. Sarcocystidae sp. sequence was obtained from Ixodes tasmani Neumann but could not be confidently identified at the genus level. CONCLUSIONS:Novel species of parasites in ticks represent an unknown threat to the health of companion animals that are bitten by these native tick species. The vector potential of Australian ticks for the newly discovered apicomplexans needs to be assessed, and further clinical and molecular investigations of these parasites, particularly in blood samples from dogs, cats and horses, is required to determine their potential for pathogenicity.