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Neiker-Tecnalia confirms need to undertake epidemiological monitoring programs for ticks
Date:9/30/2010

onotic bacteria, such as Borrelia burgdorferi (causative agent of Lyme's disease), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytic anaplasmosis), Coxiella burnetii (Q Fever) or several Spotted Fever Group rickettsias (microorganisms that have features in common with viruses and bacteria). Hence, with the purpose of estimating the prevalence of these agents in ticks collected in the Basque Country, 691 adult ticks belonging to six different species were analysed using molecular methods.

With the exception of the Dermacentor reticulatus species, in which the presence of Rickettsia raoultii was detected in 50% of the samples, infection prevalence for the remaining pathogens was generally lower than in other European countries. Despite its low pathogenicity, R. raoultii has been occasionally associated with disease, and this is the first time it has been detected amongst ticks from the Basque Country.

As regards seasonality, winter was the season when the number of ticks infected with R. raoultii was higher, while summer represented the highest risk for A. phagocytophilum and B. burgdorferi infection. The transmission of C. burnetii in the Basque Country does not seem to be produced by bites from ixodid ticks, since C. burnetii DNA was only detected in 0.1 % of the ticks.

Different species depending on bioclimatic conditions

Tick species distribution, activity and abundance depend largely on bioclimatic conditions. Knowledge of all these aspects is essential from the sanitary point of view since different diseases are specifically transmitted by certain tick species, and each tick species has a particular seasonality.

In order to study the effect of the climate and vegetation on the distribution of ticks in the Basque Country, samples of these arthropods were monthly sampled for several years. The results were compared with those obtained
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Contact: Amaia Portugal
a.portugal@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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