ABSTRACT: There are 17 human-biting ticks known in Australia. The bites of Ixodes holocyclus, Ornithodoros capensis, and Ornithodoros gurneyi can cause paralysis, inflammation, and severe local and systemic reactions in humans, respectively. Six ticks, including Amblyomma triguttatum, Bothriocroton hydrosauri, Haemaphysalis novaeguineae, Ixodes cornuatus, Ixodes holocyclus, and Ixodes tasmani may transmit Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia australis, Rickettsia honei, or Rickettsia honei subsp. marmionii. These bacterial pathogens cause Q fever, Queensland tick typhus (QTT), Flinders Island spotted fever (FISF), and Australian spotted fever (ASF). It is also believed that babesiosis can be transmitted by ticks to humans in Australia. In addition, Argas robertsi, Haemaphysalis bancrofti, Haemaphysalis longicornis, Ixodes hirsti, Rhipicephalus australis, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks may play active roles in transmission of other pathogens that already exist or could potentially be introduced into Australia. These pathogens include Anaplasma spp., Bartonella spp., Burkholderia spp., Francisella spp., Dera Ghazi Khan virus (DGKV), tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Lake Clarendon virus (LCV), Saumarez Reef virus (SREV), Upolu virus (UPOV), or Vinegar Hill virus (VINHV). It is important to regularly update clinicians' knowledge about tick-borne infections because these bacteria and arboviruses are pathogens of humans that may cause fatal illness. An increase in the incidence of tick-borne infections of human may be observed in the future due to changes in demography, climate change, and increase in travel and shipments and even migratory patterns of birds or other animals. Moreover, the geographical conditions of Australia are favorable for many exotic ticks, which may become endemic to Australia given an opportunity. There are some human pathogens, such as Rickettsia conorii and Rickettsia rickettsii that are not currently present in Australia, but can be transmitted by some human-biting ticks found in Australia, such as Rhipicephalus sanguineus, if they enter and establish in this country. Despite these threats, our knowledge of Australian ticks and tick-borne diseases is in its infancy.
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.
Project description:Ticks are haematophagous ectoparasites of medical and veterinary significance due to their excellent vector capacity. Modern sequencing techniques enabled the rapid sequencing of bacterial pathogens and symbionts. This study's aims were two-fold; to determine the nymph diversity in Sydney, and to determine whether external biotic factors affect the microbiota. Tick DNA was isolated, and the molecular identity was determined for nymphs at the cox1 level. The tick DNA was subjected to high throughput DNA sequencing to determine the bacterial profile and the impact of biotic factors on the microbiota. Four nymph tick species were recovered from Sydney, NSW: Haemaphysalis bancrofti, Ixodes holocyclus, Ixodes trichosuri and Ixodes tasmani. Biotic factors, notably tick species and geography, were found to have a significance influence on the microbiota. The microbial analyses revealed that Sydney ticks display a core microbiota. The dominating endosymbionts among all tick species were Candidatus Midichloria sp. Ixholo1 and Candidatus Midichloria sp. Ixholo2. A novel Candidatus Midichloria sp. OTU_2090 was only found in I. holocyclus ticks (nymph: 96.3%, adult: 75.6%). Candidatus Neoehrlichia australis and Candidatus Neoehrlichia arcana was recovered from I. holocyclus and one I. trichosuri nymph ticks. Borrelia spp. was absent from all ticks. This study has shown that nymph and adult ticks carry different bacteria, and a tick bite in Sydney, Australia will result in different bacterial transfer depending on tick life stage, tick species and geography.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ticks are important carriers of many different zoonotic pathogens. To date, there are many studies about ticks and tick-borne pathogens (TBP), but only a few were carried out in Bulgaria. The present study intends to detect the prevalence of tick-borne bacteria and parasites occurring at the Black Sea in Bulgaria to evaluate the zoonotic potential of the tick-borne pathogens transmitted by ticks in this area. METHODS:In total, cDNA from 1541 ticks (Dermacentor spp., Haemaphysalis spp., Hyalomma spp., Ixodes spp. and Rhipicephalus spp.) collected in Bulgaria by flagging method or from hosts was tested in pools of ten individuals each for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi (s.l.), Rickettsia spp. and "Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis" via conventional and quantitative real-time PCR. Subsequently, samples from positive pools were tested individually and a randomized selection of positive PCR samples was purified, sequenced, and analyzed. RESULTS:Altogether, 23.2% of ticks were infected with at least one of the tested pathogens. The highest infection levels were noted in nymphs (32.3%) and females (27.5%). Very high prevalence was detected for Rickettsia spp. (48.3%), followed by A. phagocytophilum (6.2%), Borrelia burgdorferi (s.l.) (1.7%), Babesia spp. (0.4%) and "Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis" (0.1%). Co-infections were found in 2.5% of the tested ticks (mainly Ixodes spp.). Sequencing revealed the presence of Rickettsia monacensis, R. helvetica, and R. aeschlimannii, Babesia microti and B. caballi, and Theileria buffeli and Borrelia afzelli. CONCLUSION:This study shows very high prevalence of zoonotic Rickettsia spp. in ticks from Bulgaria and moderate to low prevalence for all other pathogens tested. One should take into account that tick bites from this area could lead to Rickettsia infection in humans and mammals.
Project description:Ticks are the vectors of various pathogens, threatening human health and animal production across the globe. Here, for the first time we detected Ricketssia spp., Borrelia spp. and protozoan in ticks from Poyang Lake region in Ji- angxi Province of eastern China. In 3 habitat categories and on 12 host species, 311 ticks from 11 species were collected. Haemaphysalis longicornis was the predominant species, accounting for 55.63%, followed by Rhipicephalus microplus, Haemaphysalis flava and Ixodes granulatus. Of the collected ticks, 7.07% were positive for tick-borne pathogens, and H. longicornis and H. flava were found to be co-infected with Ricketssia spp. and protozoan. H. flava was the most detected positive for tick-borne pathogens, whereas H. longicornis had the lowest infection rate, and the difference in infection rates between tick species was significant (χ2=61.24, P<0.001). Furthermore, adult ticks demonstrated remarkably greater infection rate than immature ticks (χ2=10.12, P=0.018), meanwhile ticks on Erinaceidae showed significantly higher positivity than ticks collected on other host species (χ2=108.44, P<0.001). Genetic fragment sequencing and analyses showed at least 4 pathogen species presence in ticks, namely Borrelia yangtzensis, Rickettsia slovaca or Rickettsia raoultii related genospecies, Babesia vogeli and Hepatozoon canis or Hepatozoon felis related genospecies. The finding indicates that the abundant ticks can carry diverse pathogens in Poyang Lake region, and pathogen infection is highly related to species, vertebrate hosts and life stages of ticks.
Project description:The Australian paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is of significant medical and veterinary importance as a cause of dermatological and neurological disease, yet there is currently limited information about the bacterial communities harboured by these ticks and the risk of infectious disease transmission to humans and domestic animals. Ongoing controversy about the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (the aetiological agent of Lyme disease) in Australia increases the need to accurately identify and characterise bacteria harboured by I. holocyclus ticks.Universal PCR primers were used to amplify the V1-2 hyper-variable region of bacterial 16S rRNA genes present in DNA samples from I. holocyclus and I. ricinus ticks, collected in Australia and Germany respectively. The 16S amplicons were purified, sequenced on the Ion Torrent platform, and analysed in USEARCH, QIIME, and BLAST to assign genus and species-level taxonomy. Initial analysis of I. holocyclus and I. ricinus identified that > 95 % of the 16S sequences recovered belonged to the tick intracellular endosymbiont "Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii" (CMM). A CMM-specific blocking primer was designed that decreased CMM sequences by approximately 96 % in both tick species and significantly increased the total detectable bacterial diversity, allowing identification of medically important bacterial pathogens that were previously masked by CMM.Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato was identified in German I. ricinus, but not in Australian I. holocyclus ticks. However, bacteria of medical significance were detected in I. holocyclus ticks, including a Borrelia relapsing fever group sp., Bartonella henselae, novel "Candidatus Neoehrlichia" spp., Clostridium histolyticum, Rickettsia spp., and Leptospira inadai.Abundant bacterial endosymbionts, such as CMM, limit the effectiveness of next-generation 16S bacterial community profiling in arthropods by masking less abundant bacteria, including pathogens. Specific blocking primers that inhibit endosymbiont 16S amplification during PCR are an effective way of reducing this limitation. Here, this strategy provided the first evidence of a relapsing fever Borrelia sp. and of novel "Candidatus Neoehrlichia" spp. in Australia. Our results raise new questions about tick-borne pathogens in I. holocyclus ticks.
Project description:Tick-borne rickettsioses are caused by obligate intracellular bacteria belonging to the spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae. Although Spotted Fever is prevalent in the Middle East, no reports for the presence of tick-borne pathogens are available or any studies on the epidemiology of this disease in the West Bank. We aimed to identify the circulating hard tick vectors and genetically characterize SFG Rickettsia species in ixodid ticks from the West Bank-Palestinian territories.A total of 1,123 ixodid ticks belonging to eight species (Haemaphysalis parva, Haemaphysalis adleri, Rhipicephalus turanicus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Rhipicephalus bursa, Hyalomma dromedarii, Hyalomma aegyptium and Hyalomma impeltatum) were collected from goats, sheep, camels, dogs, a wolf, a horse and a tortoise in different localities throughout the West Bank during the period of January-April, 2014. A total of 867 ticks were screened for the presence of rickettsiae by PCR targeting a partial sequence of the ompA gene followed by sequence analysis. Two additional genes, 17 kDa and 16SrRNA were also targeted for further characterization of the detected Rickettsia species. Rickettsial DNA was detected in 148 out of the 867 (17%) tested ticks. The infection rates in Rh. turanicus, Rh. sanguineus, H. adleri, H. parva, H. dromedarii, and H. impeltatum ticks were 41.7, 11.6, 16.7, 16.2, 11.8 and 20%, respectively. None of the ticks, belonging to the species Rh. bursa and H. aegyptium, were infected. Four SFG rickettsiae were identified: Rickettsia massiliae, Rickettsia africae, Candidatus Rickettsia barbariae and Candidatus Rickettsia goldwasserii.The results of this study demonstrate the geographic distribution of SFG rickettsiae and clearly indicate the presence of at least four of them in collected ticks. Palestinian clinicians should be aware of emerging tick-borne diseases in the West Bank, particularly infections due to R. massiliae and R. africae.
Project description:Ixodes holocyclus (Acarina: Ixodidae) and Ixodes cornuatus (Acarina: Ixodidae) are two tick species found in the more densely populated areas of Australia and are known to be the cause of the neurotoxic disease tick paralysis in humans and mammals. Borreliosis otherwise known as Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease in humans in Australia. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae) and sensu lato are closely related spirochetal species that are the causative agents of Lyme disease in humans. Clinical transmission of this tick-borne disease can be identified in several but not all cases by a characteristic rash known as erythema migrans. However, there has been no study of the tick vectors of this infection in Australia. We used morphological and molecular techniques to identify unequivocally the ticks on the patients of this study to be I. holocyclus and then show the presence of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto infection in erythema migrans biopsies. I. holocyclus has not previously been associated with erythema migrans or Lyme disease. Two patients presented to the lead author's medical practice with erythema migrans in mid and late 2012. The morphology and cytochrome oxidase 1 and ITS2 genes of the two ticks were studied. The skin at the attachment site was sampled by central biopsy for both real time and endpoint Borrelia polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis and subsequent sequencing. Morphologically, the two ticks were either I. holocyclus or I. cornuatus. Molecular studies and nucleotide sequencing revealed that both ticks were I. holocyclus. Real time and endpoint PCR on the central tissue biopsy samples returned positive results for B. burgdorferi DNA. Our results are evidence for transmission of B. burgdorferi sensu stricto species to humans by the tick I. holocyclus in Australia. I. holocyclus is commonly associated with human tick bites on virtually the entire eastern coastline of Australia.
Project description:Tick-borne rickettsioses are world-spreading infectious zoonoses. Ticks serve as reservoirs and vectors for Rickettsia and play a key role in transmission of rickettsioses. Most of the Chinese rickettsiosis patients are reported from Northeastern China but the distribution of tick and tick-borne Rickettsia species in Northeastern China remain poorly studied. In this study, a total of 1,286 ticks were captured from the seven counties of Harbin, an area in Northeastern China, and the tick-borne Rickettsia species were identified by PCR and sequencing of rrs, gltA, groEL, ompA and 17-kDa antigen-encoding genes. Of the 5 identified tick species, Haemaphysalis longicornis and Ixodes persulcatus were the predominant tick species in the livestock and vegetation, respectively. Rickettsia raoultii and "Candidatus Rickettsia tarasevichiae" were the two detectable Rickettsia species in the ticks with a 28.8% positive rate but no rickettsiae were found in ticks of Haemaphysalis concinna. R. raoultii detected in 37.6% of the Dermacentor nuttalli, Dermacentor silvarum and H. longicornis ticks while "Ca. R. tarasevichiae" was only present in 22.8% of the I. persulcatus ticks. In particular, the positive rate of both R. raoultii and "Ca. R. tarasevichiae" in ticks from the livestock (40.7%) was significantly higher than that from the vegetation (19.5%). The results indicate that the tick and tick-borne Rickettsia species are diverse in different regions of Harbin due to geographic difference and the ticks from livestock may play a more important role in transmission of rickettsioses to human.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Ixodid ticks play an important role in the transmission and ecology of infectious diseases. Information about the circulation of tick-borne bacteria in ticks is lacking in Ecuador. Our aims were to investigate the tick species that parasitize Andean tapirs and cattle, and those present in the vegetation from the buffer zone of the Antisana Ecological Reserve and Cayambe-Coca National Park (Ecuador), and to investigate the presence of tick-borne bacteria. METHODS: Tick species were identified based on morphologic and genetic criteria. Detection of tick-borne bacteria belonging to Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Borrelia genera was performed by PCRs. RESULTS: Our ticks included 91 Amblyomma multipunctum, 4 Amblyomma spp., 60 Rhipicephalus microplus, 5 Ixodes spp. and 1 Ixodes boliviensis. A potential Candidatus Rickettsia species closest to Rickettsia monacensis and Rickettsia tamurae (designated Rickettsia sp. 12G1) was detected in 3 R. microplus (3/57, 5.3%). In addition, Anaplasma spp., assigned at least to Anaplasma phagocytophilum (or closely related genotypes) and Anaplasma marginale, were found in 2 A. multipunctum (2/87, 2.3%) and 13 R. microplus (13/57, 22.8%). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first description of Rickettsia sp. in ticks from Ecuador, and the analyses of sequences suggest the presence of a potential novel Rickettsia species. Ecuadorian ticks from Andear tapirs, cattle and vegetation belonging to Amblyomma and Rhipicephalus genera were infected with Anaplasmataceae. Ehrlichia spp. and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato were not found in any ticks.
Project description:Rickettsiosis is a potentially fatal tick borne disease. It is caused by the obligate intracellular bacteria Rickettsia, which is transferred to humans through salivary excretions of ticks during the biting process. Globally, the incidence of tick-borne diseases is increasing; as such, there is a need for a greater understanding of tick-host interactions to create more informed risk management strategies. Flinders Island spotted fever rickettsioses has been identified throughout Australia (Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Torres Strait Islands) with possible identifications in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Italy. Flinders Island spotted fever is thought to be spread through tick bites and the reptile tick Bothriocroton hydrosauri has been implicated as a vector in this transmission. This study used qPCR to assay Bothriocroton hydrosauri ticks collected from Tiliqua rugosa (sleepy lizard) hosts on mainland South Australia near where spotted fever cases have been identified. We report that, although we discovered Rickettsia in all tick samples, it was not Rickettsia honei. This study is the first to use PCR to positively identify Rickettsia from South Australian Bothriocroton hydrosauri ticks collected from Tiliqua rugosa (sleepy lizard) hosts. These findings suggest that B. hydrosauri may be a vector of multiple Rickettsia spp. Also as all 41 tested B. hydrosauri ticks were positive for Rickettsia this indicates an extremely high prevalence within the studied area in South Australia.