Ticks and transmitted pathogens constitute a major concern for livestock health/welfare and productivity for the Mediterranean region, often posing an important zoonotic threat. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence, infection intensity, and seasonality of ticks and tick-borne pathogens on the island of Lesvos in Greece, which was selected as a potential hotspot for their circulation. To this end, 101 sheep farms were visited over a tick activity season, and ticks, blood samples, and questionnaire data were collected. Ticks were identified by species, and DNA from both ticks and blood samples was further investigated using the polymerase chain reaction–reverse line blot (PCR–RLB) technique. In 72.3% of the farms, sheep were found to be infected by 9 ixodid species, with Rhipicephalus turanicus being the most common during the spring/early summer period. As regards tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), 84.9% of the animals were found to be infected with at least one pathogen, the most common being genera of Anaplasma and Theileria, alone or in co-infections. To further characterize the Anaplasma species found, selected samples were sequenced, revealing isolates of A. ovis, A. capra, A. marginale, and A. phagocytophilum. Of the 169 female R. turanicus ticks analyzed by PCR–RLB, 89.9% were harboring at least one TBP belonging to the genera Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Babesia, Theileria, or Rickettsia. Overall, the data presented in this study revealed a high burden of ticks and TBPs in sheep, including zoonotic species, stressing the need for applying effective monitoring and control programs using a more holistic One Health approach.

The Scenario of Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens of Sheep on a Mediterranean Island

Musella V.;Rinaldi L.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Ticks and transmitted pathogens constitute a major concern for livestock health/welfare and productivity for the Mediterranean region, often posing an important zoonotic threat. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence, infection intensity, and seasonality of ticks and tick-borne pathogens on the island of Lesvos in Greece, which was selected as a potential hotspot for their circulation. To this end, 101 sheep farms were visited over a tick activity season, and ticks, blood samples, and questionnaire data were collected. Ticks were identified by species, and DNA from both ticks and blood samples was further investigated using the polymerase chain reaction–reverse line blot (PCR–RLB) technique. In 72.3% of the farms, sheep were found to be infected by 9 ixodid species, with Rhipicephalus turanicus being the most common during the spring/early summer period. As regards tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), 84.9% of the animals were found to be infected with at least one pathogen, the most common being genera of Anaplasma and Theileria, alone or in co-infections. To further characterize the Anaplasma species found, selected samples were sequenced, revealing isolates of A. ovis, A. capra, A. marginale, and A. phagocytophilum. Of the 169 female R. turanicus ticks analyzed by PCR–RLB, 89.9% were harboring at least one TBP belonging to the genera Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Babesia, Theileria, or Rickettsia. Overall, the data presented in this study revealed a high burden of ticks and TBPs in sheep, including zoonotic species, stressing the need for applying effective monitoring and control programs using a more holistic One Health approach.
2022
Anaplasma ovis
Ixodidae
PCR–reverse line blot
Rhipicephalus turanicus
sheep
tick-borne pathogens
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12317/79789
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