Molecular identification of tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from dogs and small ruminants from Greece
Ticks are vectors for a variety of human and animal pathogens (bacteria, protozoa and viruses). In order to investigate the pathogens carried by ticks in Greece, a total of 179 adult ticks (114 female and 65 male) were collected from domestic animals (sheep, goats and dogs) from 14 prefectures of six regions of Greece. Among them, 40 were Dermacentor marginatus, 25 Haemaphysalis parva, 22 H. sulcata, one H. punctata, 13 Ixodes gibbosus, 77 Rhipicephalus sanguineus s.l. and one R. bursa. All ticks were tested for the presence of DNA of Anaplasma spp., Babesia spp., Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia spp. and Theileria spp. The collected ticks were examined by PCR and reverse line blot (RLB) assay. A prevalence of 20.1% for Anaplasma spp., 15.6% for Babesia spp. (identifying B. bigemina, B. divergens, B. ovis and B. crassa), 17.9% for C. burnetii, 15.1% for Rickettsia spp., and 21.2% for Theileria spp. (identifying T. annulata, T. buffeli/orientalis, T. ovis and T. lestoquardi) was found. The results of this study demonstrate the variety of tick-borne pathogens of animal and human importance circulating in Greece, and that awareness is needed to minimize the risk of infection, especially among farmers and pet owners.
KeywordsTicks Tick-borne pathogens PCR Ruminants Dog Greece
The authors gratefully acknowledge all the veterinarians who contributed in the study by providing the samples. This study was financially supported by the State Scholarship Foundation IKY, NSRF 2007–2013. IGFM is funded from the Own Research Program by University of Castilla-La Mancha.
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