Tick-borne pathogens in tick species infesting humans in Sibiu County, central Romania

  • Martin O. Andersson
  • Georgeta Marga
  • Teofilia Banu
  • Gerhard Dobler
  • Lidia Chitimia-Dobler
Original Paper

Abstract

Romania has a highly diverse tick fauna. Consequently, a high diversity of tick-transmitted pathogens might be a potential threat to humans. However, only a limited number of tick species regularly infest humans, and pathogens present in such species are therefore of particular interest from a medical perspective. In this study, 297 ticks were collected from humans during 2013 and 2014. Ixodes ricinus was the predominant tick species, accounting for 272 specimens or 91.6% of the ticks in the study. Nevertheless, other tick species were also found to infest humans: Dermacentor marginatus constituted 7% of the ticks found on humans (21/297), Haemaphysalis punctata 1% (3/297), and Haemaphysalis concinna 0.3% (1/297). Ticks were tested by PCR for a wide range of tick-borne pathogens. In total, 11.8% of the ticks carried human pathogenic bacteria, while no viral or protozoan pathogens were detected. The most frequently detected pathogen was Rickettsia spp., occurring in 5.4% of the ticks (16/297) and comprising three species: Rickettsia (R.) raoultii, R. monacensis, and R. helvetica. Borrelia s.l. occurred in 3% (9/297) of the ticks. “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis” occurred in 1.7% (5/297) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in 1.3% (4/297). Anaplasma bovis was detected in an H. punctata and Borrelia miyamotoi in an I. ricinus. These results point to the need for further studies on the medical importance of tick-borne pathogens in Romania.

Keywords

Humans Ticks Tick-borne diseases Sibiu County Romania 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are sincerely grateful to Richard Robbins for comments on the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin O. Andersson
    • 1
  • Georgeta Marga
    • 2
  • Teofilia Banu
    • 3
  • Gerhard Dobler
    • 4
  • Lidia Chitimia-Dobler
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems (EEMiS)Linnaeus UniversityKalmarSweden
  2. 2.Public Health Direction, Epidemiological Surveillance and Disease Control DepartmentSibiuRomania
  3. 3.Institute for Diagnosis and Animal HealthBucharestRomania
  4. 4.Bundeswehr Institute of MicrobiologyGerman Center of Infection Research (DZIF) Partner MunichMunichGermany

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