Laboratory Diagnostics of Rickettsia Infections in Denmark 2008-2015.
ABSTRACT: Rickettsiosis is a vector-borne disease caused by bacterial species in the genus Rickettsia. Ticks in Scandinavia are reported to be infected with Rickettsia, yet only a few Scandinavian human cases are described, and rickettsiosis is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of rickettsiosis in Denmark based on laboratory findings. We found that in the Danish individuals who tested positive for Rickettsia by serology, the majority (86%; 484/561) of the infections belonged to the spotted fever group. In contrast, we could confirm 13 of 41 (32%) PCR-positive individuals by sequencing and identified all of these as R. africae, indicating infections after travel exposure. These 13 samples were collected from wound/skin material. In Denmark, approximately 85 individuals test positive for Rickettsia spp. annually, giving an estimated 26% (561/2147) annual prevalence among those suspected of rickettsiosis after tick bites. However, without clinical data and a history of travel exposure, a true estimation of rickettsiosis acquired endemically by tick bites cannot be made. Therefore, we recommend that both clinical data and specific travel exposure be included in a surveillance system of Rickettsia infections.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Various tick-borne infections like borreliosis and rickettsiosis pose a health risk to humans in many parts of the world. We investigated seroprevalence of and seroconversion to Borrelia burgdorferi and Rickettsia spp. and relation to tick-bites, weather and clinical manifestations in Denmark.<h4>Methods</h4>Blood donors were enrolled at the Hospital of Southern Jutland in June-July with follow-up November-February of 2018 and 2019. Blood samples were collected, and a questionnaire regarding tick bites, potential exposures and symptoms was completed at each visit. Samples were tested for presence of IgM and IgG antibodies directed against B. burgdorferi and Rickettsia spp. using R. helvetica and R. felis as antigens. Data were examined for correlation between tick bites, serological results, potential exposures and symptoms.<h4>Results</h4>Two-hundred and fourteen (93 follow-ups) and 130 (38 follow-ups) blood donors were included in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The total borrelia seroconversion rate was 6.3% (CI 2.1-10.5), while the prevalence of IgM and IgG antibodies was 7.8% (CI 4.9-10.6) and 6.7% (CI 4-9.3), respectively. Seroconversion to Rickettsia spp. was detected in one participant. Tick bites and seroconversion were not significantly associated with the reported unspecific symptoms, but unspecific symptoms were common in the study population. There was no significant difference in number of tick bites or seroconversion/prevalence between seasons with highly alternating weather.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Results suggest that weather conditions in an individual year have a limited impact. Anti-Borrelia-antibodies do not seem to persist in serum for several years. Rickettsiosis is of limited concern in Denmark.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Anaplasmosis is an emerging acute febrile disease that is caused by a bite of an Anaplasma phagocytophilum-infected hard tick. As for healthy patients, reports on asymptomatic anaplasmosis resulting from such tick bites are rare. CASE PRESENTATION:A 55-year-old female patient visited the hospital with a tick bite in the right infraclavicular region. The tick was suspected to have been on the patient for more than 10?days. PCR and an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) were performed to identify tick-borne infectious diseases. The blood sample collected at admission yielded a positive result in nested PCR targeting Ehrlichia- or Anaplasma-specific genes groEL and ankA. Subsequent sequencing confirmed the presence of A. phagocytophilum, and seroconversion was confirmed by the IFA involving an A. phagocytophilum antigen slide. PCR detected no Rickettsia-specific genes [outer membrane protein A (ompA) or surface cell antigen 1 (sca1)], but seroconversion of spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiosis was confirmed by an IFA. CONCLUSIONS:This study genetically and serologically confirmed an asymptomatic A. phagocytophilum infection. Although SFG rickettsiosis was not detected genetically, it was detected serologically. These findings indicate the possibility of an asymptomatic coinfection: anaplasmosis plus SFG rickettsiosis. It is, therefore, crucial for clinicians to be aware of potential asymptomatic anaplasmosis following a tick bite.
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.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tick-transmitted rickettsial diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and spotted fever rickettsiosis, are significant sources of morbidity and mortality in the southern United States. Because of their exposure in tick-infested woodlands, outdoor workers experience an increased risk of infection with tick-borne pathogens. As part of a double blind randomized-controlled field trial of the effectiveness of permethrin-treated clothing in preventing tick bites, we identified tick species removed from the skin of outdoor workers in North Carolina and tested the ticks for Rickettsiales pathogens. METHODS:Ticks submitted by study participants from April-September 2011 and 2012 were identified to species and life stage, and preliminarily screened for the genus Rickettsia by nested PCR targeting the 17-kDa protein gene. Rickettsia were further identified to species by PCR amplification of 23S-5S intergenic spacer (IGS) fragments combined with reverse line blot hybridization with species-specific probes and through cloning and nucleotide sequence analysis of 23S-5S amplicons. Ticks were examined for Ehrlichia and Anaplasma by nested PCR directed at the gltA, antigen-expressing gene containing a variable number of tandem repeats, 16S rRNA, and groESL genes. RESULTS:The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) accounted for 95.0 and 92.9% of ticks submitted in 2011 (n?=?423) and 2012 (n?=?451), respectively. Specimens of American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum) and black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) were also identified. In both years of our study, 60.9% of ticks tested positive for 17-kDa. "Candidatus Rickettsia amblyommii", identified in all four tick species, accounted for 90.2% (416/461) of the 23S-5S-positive samples and 52.9% (416/787) of all samples tested. Nucleotide sequence analysis of Rickettsia-specific 23S-5S IGS, ompA and gltA gene fragments indicated that ticks, principally A. americanum, contained novel species of Rickettsia. Other Rickettsiales, including Ehrlichia ewingii, E. chaffeensis, Ehrlichia sp. (Panola Mountain), and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, were infrequently identified, principally in A. americanum. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that in North Carolina, the most common rickettsial exposure is to R. amblyommii carried by A. americanum. Other Rickettsiales bacteria, including novel species of Rickettsia, were less frequently detected in A. americanum but are relevant to public health nevertheless.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lyme borreliosis is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in Europe. Ixodes ricinus also carries other pathogenic bacteria, but corresponding human diseases are rarely reported. Here, we compared the exposure to Rickettsia helvetica and Rickettsia monacensis with that to Lyme borreliosis spirochetes. We assumed that their exposure corresponds to their infection rate in questing I. ricinus. FINDINGS:Three Rickettsia species were detected in ticks with a total prevalence of 7.9%, of which the majority was R. helvetica (78%) and R. monacensis (21%). From the same geographic area, skin biopsies of erythema migrans patients were investigated for possible co-infections with Rickettsia spp.. Forty-seven out of 67 skin biopsies were PCR positive for Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. and one sample was positive for R. monacensis. The Borrelia genospecies from the R. monacensis positive patient was identified as Borrelia afzelii. The patient did not show any symptoms associated with rickettsiosis. CONCLUSIONS:Co-infections of I. ricinus with Rickettsia spp. and B. burgdorferi s.l. were as high as expected from the individual prevalence of both pathogens. Co-infection rate in erythema migrans patients corresponded well with tick infection rates. To our knowledge, this is the first reported co-infection of B. afzelii and R. monacensis.
Project description:The association between companion animals and tick-borne rickettsial disease has long been recognized and can be essential to the emergence of rickettsioses. We tested whole blood from dogs in temporary shelters by using PCR for rickettsial infections. Of 93 dogs, 12 (13%) were positive for Rickettsia parkeri, an emerging tick-borne rickettsiosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tick-borne diseases are the most prevalent vector-borne diseases in Europe. Knowledge on the incidence and clinical presentation of other tick-borne diseases than Lyme borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis is minimal, despite the high human exposure to these pathogens through tick bites. Using molecular detection techniques, the frequency of tick-borne infections after exposure through tick bites was estimated. METHODS:Ticks, blood samples and questionnaires on health status were collected from patients that visited their general practitioner with a tick bite or erythema migrans in 2007 and 2008. The presence of several tick-borne pathogens in 314 ticks and 626 blood samples of this cohort were analyzed using PCR-based methods. Using multivariate logistic regression, associations were explored between pathogens detected in blood and self-reported symptoms at enrolment and during a three-month follow-up period. RESULTS:Half of the ticks removed from humans tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Rickettsia helvetica, Rickettsia monacensis, Borrelia miyamotoi and several Babesia species. Among 92 Borrelia burgdorferi s. l. positive ticks, 33% carried another pathogen from a different genus. In blood of sixteen out of 626 persons with tick bites or erythema migrans, DNA was detected from Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (n = 7), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (n = 5), Babesia divergens (n = 3), Borrelia miyamotoi (n = 1) and Borrelia burgdorferi s. l. (n = 1). None of these sixteen individuals reported any overt symptoms that would indicate a corresponding illness during the three-month follow-up period. No associations were found between the presence of pathogen DNA in blood and; self-reported symptoms, with pathogen DNA in the corresponding ticks (n = 8), reported tick attachment duration, tick engorgement, or antibiotic treatment at enrolment. CONCLUSIONS:Based on molecular detection techniques, the probability of infection with a tick-borne pathogen other than Lyme spirochetes after a tick bite is roughly 2.4%, in the Netherlands. Similarly, among patients with erythema migrans, the probability of a co-infection with another tick-borne pathogen is approximately 2.7%. How often these infections cause disease symptoms or to what extend co-infections affect the course of Lyme borreliosis needs further investigations.
Project description:In the United States, all previously reported cases of Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis have been linked to transmission by the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum). Here we describe 1 confirmed and 1 probable case of R. parkeri rickettsiosis acquired in a mountainous region of southern Arizona, well beyond the recognized geographic range of A. maculatum ticks. The likely vector for these 2 infections was identified as the Amblyomma triste tick, a Neotropical species only recently recognized in the United States. Identification of R. parkeri rickettsiosis in southern Arizona demonstrates a need for local ecologic and epidemiologic assessments to better understand geographic distribution and define public health risk. Education and outreach aimed at persons recreating or working in this region of southern Arizona would improve awareness and promote prevention of tickborne rickettsioses.
Project description:Using molecular assays, Rickettsia slovaca, the agent of a spotted fever group rickettsiosis resulting in scalp eschar and neck lymphadenopathy after tick bite, was assessed in 92 spleens recovered from 117 wild boars hunted in the far northeast of Algeria. Rickettsia slovaca was detected in 5.4% of tested wild boar spleens. The presence of R. slovaca DNA in boar spleens questions the relationship that may exist between this bacterium and Sus scrofa algira, and its role in human infections.
Project description: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.