Seasonal activity of tick species and temporal dynamics of tick-borne pathogens in the Slovak Karst region

Authors: Martin Bona 1    Bronislava Víchová 2    Lucia Blaňarová 2    Ladislav Mošanský 2    Eva Čepčeková 3    Michal Stanko 2,4   
1 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, Slovak Republic    2 Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovak Republic    3 Slovak hydrometeorological Institute, department of Meteorological Service, Košice, Slovak Republic    4 Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovak Republic   
Year: 2015
Section: Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Abstract No.: 1265
ISBN: 978-80-970712-8-8

In Europe, apart from the mosquitoes, ticks are epidemiologically the most important vectors of zoonotic microbial pathogens. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of infection and the seasonal activity of Borrelia spp., Babesia spp. and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in questing ticks (Ixodes spp., Dermacentor spp., Haemaphysalis spp.).

Study area is situated near the Hrhov village (48o34.899 N, 20o 46.743 E) in the karst region of eastern Slovakia, Central Europe. Ticks were collected in two-week intervals, during the one year period (February 2011 - February 2012) by the method of flagging the vegetation. Subsequently, the ticks were investigated for the presence of pathogens by the molecular methods.

In the file of 660 tested ticks, the highest was the prevalence of spirochetes from Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. complex (12.4%). Using the RFLP method, six genospecies were determined. The predominant genospecies were B. garinii (38.8%) and B. afzelii (36.7%). In addition, one Dermacentor marginatus tick tested positive for B. afzelii and one Haemaphysalis inermis was infected with B. valaisiana. All D. reticulatus ticks were free of Borrelia spp. infection. The second, most prevailing pathogen in tested Ixodes ricinus ticks was Babesia spp. (7.7%). Further sequencing allowed distinguishing between B. microti “Jena strain” (64.28%) and B. venatorum (21.42%). The presence of A. phagocytophilum was confirmed in 2.76% of tested I. ricinus ticks.

This study has been realized thanks to the financial support of the Research & Development Operational Programme funded by the ERDF: Environmental protection against parasitozoonoses under the influence of global climate and social changes (code ITMS: 26220220116) (1,0)