Extensive diversity of rickettsiales bacteria in ticks from Wuhan, China.Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2017; 8(4):574-580TT
Rickettsiales bacteria are important agents of (re)emerging infectious diseases, with ticks playing a key role in their evolution and transmission. We collected 1079 hard ticks belonging to five species (Ixodes sinensis, Rhipicephalus microplus, Haemaphysalis flava, Haemaphysalis hystricis and Haemaphysalis longicornis) from cattle and goats in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China. The dominant tick species was H. longicornis (578, 53.57%), followed by R. microplus (354, 32.81%), H. hystricis (62, 5.75%), H. flava (57, 5.28%), and I. sinensis (28, 2.59%). Rickettsiales bacteria were identified in these ticks by amplifying the Rickettsiales 16S rRNA (rrs), citrate synthase (gltA), and heat shock protein (groEL) genes. The rrs gene of Rickettsiales was positive in 32 (2.97%) ticks, including 2 cases of co-infection, with 4 (0.69%) in H. longicornis, 15 (4.24%) in R. microplus, 7 (12.28%) in H. flava, 1 (1.61%) in H. hystricis, and 5 (17.86%) in I. sinensis ticks. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of six recognized and seven Candidatus species of Rickettsiaceae, Anaplasmataceae and Candidatus Midichloriaceae. Notably, one lineage within both Ehrlichia and Candidatus Midichloriaceae was distinct from any known Rickettsiales, suggesting the presence of potentially novel species of Rickettsiales bacteria. In sum, these data reveal an extensive diversity of Rickettsiales in ticks from Wuhan, highlighting the need to understand Rickettsiales infection in local animals and humans.