Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 411–423 | Cite as

Molecular detection of Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma platys and Theileria equi in ticks collected from horses in Tayrona National Park, Colombia

  • Adriana SantodomingoEmail author
  • Keyla Sierra-Orozco
  • Andrea Cotes-Perdomo
  • Lyda R. Castro


Horses are among the domestic animals that closely interact with humans and are highly parasitized by ticks, which are the primary vectors of zoonoses. As horses in Tayrona National Natural Park (PNNT) are used as a means of transporting goods, luggage and people, they are in constant contact with wild animals, workers and tourists from different countries. These factors increase the transmission risk of hemoparasites. The purpose of this study was to determine the presence of Rickettsia sp., Anaplasma sp., and Theileria sp., in horse ticks in this protected area using conventional PCR. We collected 343 ticks of genera Amblyomma, Rhipicephalus and Dermacentor. Of the 61 samples analyzed by PCR, 18 (29.5%) individuals were positive for Rickettsia sp., 15 (24.5%) for Anaplasma sp. and 4 (6.6%) for Theileria sp. This is the first report of these hemoparasite genera in ticks associated with horses in this preserved natural area, demonstrating the importance of additional studies on the presence and epidemiology of hemoparasites and their vectors in domestic and wild animals in conserved areas with a high flow of tourists.


Horses Natural parks Tourists Zoonosis 



We thank Gustavo López Valencia for assisting with the taxonomic identification of the ticks. We thank the PNNT and the owners of the horses for allowing us to carry out this research in their facilities. We also thank Santiago Nava for his suggestions on the phylogenetic tree of Amblyomma and for corroborating the identification of an Amblyomma mixtum specimen. This study was funded by the patrimonial fund for research (Fonciencias) of the Universidad del Magdalena [VIN2016104].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no competing interest regarding the publication of this paper.

Ethics approval

Permission for manipulating the animals as well as collecting the ectoparasites for this study was given by ANLA (Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales) under permit no. 1293 and was approved by the Universidad del Magdalena Ethics Committee (Acta 001-15).

Informed consent

Informed verbal consent had been provided by the animal owners prior to the collection of samples.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación Evolución, Sistemática y Ecología Molecular (GIESEMOL)Universidad del MagdalenaSanta MartaColombia

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