To study the rate of infection of ticks captured one of the Moscow park terrains with bacteria (agents of tick borreliosis and anaplasmosis).
Rates of infection of dried ticks with agents of main tick-borne bacterial infections (tick borreliosis and anaplasmosis) were determined by nested PCR.
In May-June 2006, 76 ticks (40 adult females, 36 adult, males) belonged to Ixodes ricinus species were captured by the method "on flag". Number of ticks on the chosen terrain was 1.77 ticks per km2. 22.4% of ticks (12 females and 5 males) were positive for the agent of tick borreliosis--spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato which is pathogenic for humans. The main detected pathogen was Euro-Asian genovariant of B. garinii--7 female and 5 male ticks (70.6% from total number of infected ticks) were infected with it. Five female ticks were infected with genovariant of B. afzelii. One female tick (1.2%) was infected with B. valaisiana.
Anaplasma A. phagocytophilum causing human granulocytic anaplasmosis was not detected in captured adult ticks.
Two spotted fever group rickettsia strains, A-108 and A-167, were isolated from the hemolymph of Rhipicephalus pumilio ticks collected in the Astrakhan region of Russia, which is area endemic for Astrakhan fever. These tick isolates were compared with a strain isolated from a patient suffering from Astrakhan fever and with reference spotted fever group rickettsiae strains. New tick isolates and the human strain were identical in their serologic, antigenic, and genetic characteristics by several methods: microimmunofluorescence, protein gel electrophoresis with immunoblotting, polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction endonuclease fragment length polymorphism analysis, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Astrakhan fever rickettsiae were found to be serologically and antigenically similar to Israeli spotted fever rickettsiae. Both of them probably belong to a single Rickettsia conorii pathotype complex. Only PFGE pattern analysis could clearly discriminate Astrakhan fever rickettsiae from other isolates.
Study of virulence for white mice and Syrian hamsters of 115 tick-borne encephalitis virus strains isolated in Maritime Territory showed virulence to be a complex biological manifestation of pathogenic properties of tick-borne encephalitis virus. The virulent properties of strains may have individual manifestations in each species of specific causative agent hosts and susceptible experimental biological models.
Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified gene fragments was used to characterize 24 isolates of spotted fever group rickettsiae previously identified as Rickettsia sibirica from their serologic properties. These strains were obtained in Russia between 1946 and 1991 from humans and different species of Ixodid ticks. The RFLP analysis was performed using amplified DNA products obtained with a genus-specific primer pair derived from the R. prowazekii citrate synthase gene and two group-specific primer pairs from the R. rickettsii 190-kD and 120-kD surface protein antigen genes followed by Alu I, Pst I, and Rsa I restriction endonuclease digestions. Although some differences were detected in biological characteristics among the examined strains, only a single R. sibirica genotype was found with these molecular tools of identification.
The tick-borne bacterium 'Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis' has recently been recognized as a human pathogen in Europe and appears to be the second most common pathogenic bacterium in Ixodes ricinus ticks in central Europe, second to Borrelia afzelii. Here, we investigate the prevalence of 'Candidatus N. mikurensis' in host-seeking ticks in southern Sweden and the rate of co-infection with B. afzelii. We developed a real-time qPCR assay targeting the groEL gene of 'Candidatus N. mikurensis' and applied this assay to 949 I. ricinus ticks collected at several locations over 2 years. We found an overall prevalence of 6.0%, which means that Candidatus N. mikurensis is one of the most common tick-transmitted zoonotic agents in this area. Co-infections with both 'Candidatus N. mikurensis' and B. afzelii occurred in 2.1% of the ticks, which is significantly more than expected under random co-occurrence. The infection intensity (number of bacterial cells) of 'Candidatus N. mikurensis' was not affected by co-infection with B. afzelii, and vice versa. We conclude that there is a risk for simultaneous transmission of these 2 tick-borne pathogens. The potential medical consequences of this require further investigation.
For the first time in the Krasnoyarsk region the population Haemaphysalis concinna ticks were found to be infected with the causative agents of three natural focal tick-borne infections--tick-borne encephalitis, tick-borne rickettsiosis and tularemia. The existence of the combined natural focus of these three infections has been confirmed by epidemiological data. Ticks Dermacentor nuttalli also play a similar role in combined foci of tick-borne encephalitis and tick-borne rickettsiosis in these focal territories.
Long-term studies on natural foci of ixodid tick-borne borrelioses (ITBB) have been performed in Chusovskoi district of Perm region, the Middle Urals, where the vectors of these infections are represented by two ixodid tick species: the taiga tick Ixodes persulcatus and many times less abundant vole tick I. trianguliceps. Over 10 years, more than 6000 half-engorged ticks were collected from small forest mammals using the standard procedure, and 1027 I. persulcatus and 1142 I. trianguliceps ticks, individually or in pools, were used to inoculate BSK-2 medium. As a result, 199 Borrelia isolates were obtained. Among them, 177 isolates were identified, and the rrf(5S)-rrl(23S) intergenic spacer sequence was determined in 57 isolates. The prevalence of Borrelia infection in I. persulcatus larvae and nymphs averaged 31.0 and 53.3%, while that in I. trianguliceps larvae, nymphs, and adult ticks was five to ten times lower: 2.6, 10.2, and 8.1%, respectively. Each of the two tick species was found to carry both ITBB agents circulating in the Middle Ural foci (Borrelia garinii and B. afzelii), but the set of genogroups and genovariants of these spirochetes in I. trianguliceps proved to be far less diverse. According to the available data, this tick, compared to I. persulcatus, is generally less susceptible to Borrelia infection (especially by B. afzelii). Taking into account of its relatively low abundance, it appears that I. trianguliceps cannot seriously influence the course of epizootic process in ITBB foci of the study region, whereas highly abundant I. persulcatus with the high level of Borrelia infection is obviously a key component of these parasitic systems. A similar situation may well be typical for the entire geographic range shared by the two tick species.