A survey of tick-borne pathogens in dogs and their ticks in the Pantanal biome, Brazil

A L T Melo, R Witter, T F Martins, T A Pacheco, A S Alves, C S Chitarra, V Dutra, L Nakazato, R C Pacheco, M B Labruna, D M Aguiar
Medical and Veterinary Entomology 2016, 30 (1): 112-6
Tick and blood samples collected from domestic dogs in the Brazilian Pantanal were tested by molecular methods for the presence of tick-borne protozoa and bacteria. Among 320 sampled dogs, 3.13% were infected by Babesia vogeli (Piroplasmida: Babesiidae), 8.75% by Hepatozoon canis (Eucoccidiorida: Hepatozoidae), 7.19% by Anaplasma platys (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae), and 0.94% by an unclassified Anaplasma sp. In three tick species collected from dogs, the following tick-borne agents were detected: (a) B. vogeli, An. platys and Ehrlichia canis (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae), infecting Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (Ixodida: Ixodidae) ticks; (b) H. canis, an unclassified Anaplasma sp. and Rickettsia amblyommii (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae), infecting Amblyomma cajennense sensu lato (Ixodida: Ixodidae) ticks, and (c) Rickettsia sp. strain Atlantic rainforest, an emerging human pathogen, infecting Amblyomma ovale ticks. Molecular analysis, based on a mitochondrial gene, revealed that the Am. cajennense s.l. ticks of the present study corresponded to Amblyomma sculptum, a member of the Am. cajennense species complex, and that Rh. sanguineus s.l. belonged to the tropical lineage. Whereas dogs are exposed to a number of tick-borne bacterial and protozoan agents in the Pantanal biome, humans are potentially exposed to infection by spotted fever group rickettsiae (e.g. R. amblyommii and Rickettsia sp. strain Atlantic rainforest) because both Am. sculptum and Am. ovale are among the most important human-biting ticks in Brazil.

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