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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.

SUBMITTER: Olivieri E 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5477853 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): AF132829

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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