Ticks and tick-borne pathogens of Croatia and Greece

Authors: Bronislava Víchová 1    Božena Haklová-Kočíková 1    Lucia Blaňarová 1    Martin Bona 2    Jasna Kraljik 1    Ladislav Mošanský 1    Igor Majláth 3    Viktória Majláthová 1    Branislav Peťko 1    Michal Stanko 1   
1 Parazitologický ústav SAV, Kosice, Slovensko    2 Lekárska Fakulta UPJŠ, Košice, SR    3 Prírodovedecká Fakulta UPJŠ, Košice, SR   
Year: 2015
Section: Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Abstract No.: 1261
ISBN: 978-80-970712-8-8

Two expeditions to Croatia (May 2011) and Greece (May 2013), aimed at the mapping of the occurrence of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in the attractive tourist destinations were realized. In Croatia, more than 1700 ticks, belonging to five species have been collected. In the Plitvice Lakes National Park Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor reticulatus, D. marginatus and Haemaphysalis punctata were recorded. In the forested Adriatic coastal zone (Makarska) only Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks were present.

Along the Greece coastline (Paralia district) more than 1000 R. sanguineus were collected from the vegetation and stray dogs. Sporadically, this tick species was observed in the strips of shrubs along the “wild” beaches. Isolated foci with a dozens of ticks per one m2 were revealed in the neglected gardens with the occurrence of many guard and stray dogs near the coast and local roads.

At the inland sites, in Meteora (central Greece) and in the Olympus National Park, up to an altitude of about 800 m a.s.l., the rare presence of I. ricinus, R. turanicus and occasionally also H. inermis and D. reticulatus was recorded. Hyalomma marginatum and H. turanicum were collected from the vegetation and catched turtles.

Preliminary results indicate the presence of Borrelia spp., Anaplasma spp., and Babesia spp. and Rickettsia sp. in I. ricinus and ticks of Rhipicephalus sanguineus complex from sampling sites of Greece and Croatia.

Results confirm that in the Mediterranean coastal areas, there are several places where the tourists and their pets may encounter ticks, especially at the beginning of the summer season.

The study was supported by the Research & Development Operational Program funded by the ERDF (ITMS 26220220116) (0.8) and VEGA 2/0113/12 (0.2).