Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting wild birds in the eastern Amazon, northern Brazil, with notes on rickettsial infection in ticks

Maria Ogrzewalska, Alexandre Uezu, Marcelo B Labruna
Parasitology Research 2010, 106 (4): 809-16
The aim of the study was to report tick infestations on wild birds in a region of the eastern Brazilian Amazon and evaluate the rickettsial infection of these ticks. Wild birds captured by mist nets were examined for the presence of ticks, which were collected and identified to species by morphology or molecular methods. In addition, part of these ticks was individually tested by polymerase chain reaction targeting portions of the rickettsial genes gltA and ompA. Among 331 captured birds, representing 56 species, 133 individuals (40.2%) from 34 species were found infested by 443 ticks, being Amblyomma longirostre (Koch) the most common (103 larvae, 12 nymphs), followed by Amblyomma humerale Koch (15 larvae, 3 nymphs), Amblyomma geayi Neumann (seven larvae, one nymph), Amblyomma calcaratum Neumann (one larva, four nymphs), Amblyomma coelebs Neumann (two larvae), and Haemaphysalis juxtakochi Cooley (one larva, two nymphs). Other 285 larvae and 7 nymphs collected from birds could not be identified to species and were morphologically identified as Amblyomma spp. The species A. humerale and A. geayi are recorded for first time parasitizing birds in the Neotropical region. Among 67 A. longirostre and 7 A. geayi, 38 (56.7%) and 4 (57.1%), respectively, were found infected by Rickettsia amblyommii. In spite of R. amblyommii being not currently recognized as human or animal pathogen, there has been serological evidence for human and canine infection by this agent in the USA and in the Brazilian western Amazon.

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