Detection of 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis' and other Anaplasmataceae and Rickettsiaceae in Canidae in Switzerland and Mediterranean countries.Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2016 Oct; 158(10):691-700.SA
'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis' is an emerging tick-borne zoonotic agent that primarily affects immunocompromised human patients. Dogs and foxes are frequently exposed to ticks, and both species are in close proximity to humans. This is the first study to systematically investigate the occurrence of 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis' in Canidae in Europa. We analyzed 1'739 blood samples from dogs in Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal and 162 blood samples from free-ranging red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Switzerland. All samples were tested using a previously described multiplex real-time PCR for the Anaplasmataceae family, the 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia' genus and the 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis' species. All Anaplasmataceae positive samples were subsequently tested using specific real-time PCRs for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, Ehrlichia canis and Rickettsia helvetica. Among the tested animals, one dog from Zurich tested positive for 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis'. The 12-year old West Highland white terrier had been splenectomized 3 months prior to the blood collection and presented with polyuria/polydipsia. Fanconi syndrome was diagnosed based on glucosuria with normoglycemia and hyperaminoaciduria. A. platys and E. canis were detected in 14/249 dogs from Sicily and Portugal; two of the dogs were coinfected with both agents. Four Swiss foxes tested positive for A. phagocytophilium. R. helvetica was detected for the first time in a red fox. In conclusion, 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis' infection should be considered in sick dogs, particularly when immunocompromised. The pathogen seems not to be widespread in Canidae in the investigated countries. Conversely, other Anaplasmataceae were more readily detected in dogs and foxes.