Presence of Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and Babesia microti in rodents and two tick species (Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes trianguliceps) in Slovakia.Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2016 Mar; 7(2):319-26.TT
Rodents are important reservoir hosts of many tick-borne pathogens. Their importance in the circulation of the emerging bacterial agent, Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and the intraerythrocytic protozoan parasite, Babesia microti has been recently proposed. The aim of the present study was to identify the presence and genetic diversity of Candidatus N. mikurensis and B. microti circulating in the natural foci among rodents and two species of ixodid ticks (Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes trianguliceps). In 2011-2013, rodents were captured at sampling sites in Eastern Slovakia. A total of 997 rodents (324 Apodemus agrarius, 350 Apodemus flavicollis, 271 Myodes glareolus, and 52 other rodent species), 788 feeding ticks from rodents, and 1375 questing ticks were investigated for the presence of pathogens by molecular methods followed by DNA sequencing. Candidatus N. mikurensis was detected in 2.4% of questing I. ricinus nymphs and 2.6% of questing adult I. ricinus ticks, spleens of rodents (1.6%), as well as in feeding larval I. ricinus (0.3%) and feeding larval I. trianguliceps ticks (3.3%). The 16S rRNA and gltA gene sequences of Candidatus N. mikurensis obtained in this study confirmed a high degree of genetic identity of this bacterium in Europe. DNA of B. microti was found in ear (0.6%) and spleen biopsies of rodents (1.9%), in rodent foetus (3.8%) and feeding larval (5.2%) and nymphal (8.7%) I. ricinus, in questing nymphal I. ricinus (0.5%) and questing adult I. ricinus ticks (0.3%). None of the 112 I. trianguliceps ticks were infected. B. microti was represented by two different genotypes: 92% of the positive samples belonged to the zoonotic type strain from Jena (Germany). The results of this study underline the importance of rodents in the circulation of both emerging pathogens in natural foci.