Friday, 18 May 2012

Ixodes ricinus ticks from 29 study areas

A total of 887 adult Ixodes ricinus ticks (469 females and 418 males) from 29 different localities in Sweden were screened for Rickettsia, Anaplasma, and Coxiella DNA using PCR and then subjected to gene sequencing. Rickettsial DNA was detected in 9.5-9.6% of the ticks. Most of the positive ticks were infected with Rickettsia helvetica. One tick harbored another spotted fever rickettsia, closely related to or identical with R. sibirica not previously found in I. ricinus nor in Sweden. Six of the ticks (0.7%) were infected with an Anaplasma sp., presumably A. phagocytophilum. Coxiella burnetii DNA was not detected in any of the ticks. The detection of R. helvetica and A. phagocytophilum in several of the localities sampled suggests that these potentially human-pathogenic agents are common in Sweden.

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