Tick-borne pathogens and their reservoir hosts in northern Italy.Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018 02; 9(2):164-170.TT
The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia spp., Babesia spp., and Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis in Ixodes spp. ticks removed from wildlife, domestic animals and humans in the Province of Trento (northern Italy) in order to better understand their ecology and provide public health professionals with an updated list of pathogens which should be considered during their diagnostic procedures after a tick bite. During 2011-2012, 848 feeding ticks at all life stages (adults, nymphs and larvae) from various hosts (wild ungulates, birds and rodents; domestic sheep, dogs and humans) were collected. The highest prevalences of A. phagocytophilum and Rickettsia spp. were detected in adult and nymphal tick stages feeding on wild ungulates (11.4% prevalence for both pathogens), while the Babesia spp. prevailed in nymphal and larval ticks feeding on wild birds (7.7%). A wide spectrum of tick-borne agents was present in larval ticks: those detached from wild ungulates were positive for A. phagocytophilum, B. venatorum, R. helvetica, R. monacensis and R. raoultii, while those removed from wild rodents were positive for B. venatorum, R. helvetica, R. monacensis and Ca. N. mikurensis, and ticks from wild birds carried A. phagocytophilum, B. venatorum, B. capreoli and R. helvetica. This study provides evidence of circulation of five tick-borne pathogens not reported in this region before, specifically R. raoultii, R. monacensis, B. venatorum, B. capreoli and B. microti. Furthermore, it discusses the epidemiological role of the animal species from which the ticks were collected highlighting the needs for more experimental studies especially for those pathogens where transovarial transmission in ticks has been demonstrated.