JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tick-borne pathogens and associated co-infections in ticks collected from domestic animals in central China

Zhuo Chen, Qin Liu, Ji-Qi Liu, Bian-Li Xu, Shan Lv, Shang Xia, Xiao-Nong Zhou
Parasites & Vectors 2014, 7: 237
24886497

BACKGROUND: Ticks can transmit a number of pathogens to humans and domestic animals. Tick borne diseases (TBDs), which may lead to organ failure and death have been recently reported in China. 98.75% of the total cases (>1000) in Henan provinces have been reported in Xinyang city. Therefore, the aims of this study were to investigate the fauna of ticks and detect the potential pathogens in ticks in Xinyang, the region of central China.

METHODS: Ticks were collected from 10 villages of Xinyang from April to December 2012, from domestic animals including sheep, cattle and dogs. Then identification of ticks and detection of tick-borne pathogens, including Babesia spp., Theileria spp., Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp., Rickettsia spp., tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Leishmania infantum, were undertaken by using polymerase chain reaction assay (PCR) and sequence analysis. Moreover, the co-infection patterns of various pathogens were compared among locations where ticks were collected.

RESULTS: A total of 308 ticks were collected. Two species of Ixodidae were found, namely Haemaphysalis longicornis (96.75%) and Rhipicephalus microplus (3.25%). Five genera of pathogens, namely Theileria spp. (3.25%), Anaplasma spp. (2.92%), Babesia spp. (1.95%), Ehrlichia spp. (2.92%) and Rickettsia spp. (0.65%), were detected in 7 villages. Co-infections by two pathogens were diagnosed in 11.11% of all infected ticks.

CONCLUSIONS: Both human and animal pathogens were abundant in ticks in the study areas. Humans and animals in these regions were at a high risk of exposure to piroplasmosis, since piroplasm had the highest rates of infection and co-infection in positive ticks.

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