liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Spotted fever Rickettsia species in Hyalomma and Ixodes ticks infesting migratory birds in the European Mediterranean area
Uppsala University, Sweden .
Hellen Ornithol Soc, Greece University of Crete, Greece .
Swedish Museum Nat Hist, Sweden .
Uppsala University, Sweden .
Show others and affiliations
2014 (English)In: Parasites & Vectors, ISSN 1756-3305, Vol. 7, no 318Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: A few billion birds migrate annually between their breeding grounds in Europe and their wintering grounds in Africa. Many bird species are tick-infested, and as a result of their innate migratory behavior, they contribute significantly to the geographic distribution of pathogens, including spotted fever rickettsiae. The aim of the present study was to characterize, in samples from two consecutive years, the potential role of migrant birds captured in Europe as disseminators of Rickettsia-infected ticks. Methods: Ticks were collected from a total of 14,789 birds during their seasonal migration northwards in spring 2009 and 2010 at bird observatories on two Mediterranean islands: Capri and Antikythira. All ticks were subjected to RNA extraction followed by cDNA synthesis and individually assayed with a real-time PCR targeting the citrate synthase (gltA) gene. For species identification of Rickettsia, multiple genes were sequenced. Results: Three hundred and ninety-eight (2.7%) of all captured birds were tick-infested; some birds carried more than one tick. A total number of 734 ticks were analysed of which 353 +/- 1 (48%) were Rickettsia-positive; 96% were infected with Rickettsia aeschlimannii and 4% with Rickettsia africae or unidentified Rickettsia species. The predominant tick taxon, Hyalomma marginatum sensu lato constituted 90% (n = 658) of the ticks collected. The remaining ticks were Ixodes frontalis, Amblyomma sp., Haemaphysalis sp., Rhipicephalus sp. and unidentified ixodids. Most ticks were nymphs (66%) followed by larvae (27%) and adult female ticks (0.5%). The majority (65%) of ticks was engorged and nearly all ticks contained visible blood. Conclusions: Migratory birds appear to have a great impact on the dissemination of Rickettsia-infected ticks, some of which may originate from distant locations. The potential ecological, medical and veterinary implications of such Rickettsia infections need further examination.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central , 2014. Vol. 7, no 318
Keyword [en]
Migratory birds; Spotted fever Rickettsia; Rickettsia aeschlimannii; Rickettsia africae; Transmission; Tick; Hyalomma marginatum; Hyalomma rufipes; Ixodes frontalis
National Category
Clinical Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109594DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-7-318ISI: 000339579100001PubMedID: 25011617OAI: diva2:739438
Available from: 2014-08-21 Created: 2014-08-21 Last updated: 2015-03-31

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(2899 kB)77 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 2899 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lindgren, Per-EricNyström, Fredrik
By organisation
Division of Microbiology and Molecular MedicineFaculty of Health SciencesDivision of Cardiovascular Medicine
In the same journal
Parasites & Vectors
Clinical Medicine

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 77 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 53 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link