Molecular detection of tick-borne pathogens harbored by ticks collected from livestock in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China

Yongchang Li, Xiuxiu Wen, Min Li, Paul Franck Adjou Moumouni, Eloiza May Galon, Qingyong Guo, Mohamed Abdo Rizk, Mingming Liu, Jixu Li, Shengwei Ji, Maria Agnes Tumwebaze, Benedicto Byamukama, Bayin Chahan, Xuenan Xuan
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 2020, 11 (5): 101478
Ticks carry and transmit a wide range of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, and protozoa) that are of importance to humans and animals globally. However, information about the tick-borne pathogens harbored by ticks in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), northwestern China, is scarce. This study investigated the occurrence of tick species of domestic animals and tick-borne pathogens by using morphological molecular identification and sequence analysis in Turpan, Qitai, Altay, Hejing, Nileke, and Zhaosu counties (XUAR). A total of 5822 adult ticks (females and males) from 12 tick species were identified from 5 animal species (cattle, goats, sheep, camels, and horses) in 6 counties in the XUAR. Collected tick species included Dermacentor marginatus (24.7 %), Dermacentor nuttalli (20.8 %), Hyalomma anatolicum (13.7 %), Dermacentor niveus (13.1 %), Haemaphysalis punctata (10.7 %), Dermacentor silvarum (7.1 %), Dermacentor pavlovskyi (3.9 %), Hyalomma asiaticum (2.2 %), Rhipicephalus pumilio (1.9 %), Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (0.7 %), Rhipicephalus turanicus (0.6 %), and Hyalomma asiaticum kozlovi (0.6 %). Furthermore, 750 partially engorged adult ticks (females and males), including H. anatolicum (250), D. nuttalli (250), and D. marginatus (250), were individually separated according to species and sampling site, used for DNA extraction, and then screened for tick-borne pathogens. The most common pathogen was Rickettsia raoultii (36.80 %), followed by Brucella sp. (26.2 %), Anaplasma ovis (22.4 %), Babesia caballi (14.8 %), Theileria equi (8.7 %), and Theileria ovis (8.5 %). The sequencing of 6 genes showed a 96-100 % nucleotide identity between the sequences in this study and those deposited in GenBank. This study provides a scientific reference for the prevention and control of tick-borne diseases in the XUAR.

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