Poster Prize at the Annual Meeting of the Austrian Society of Tropical Medicine, Parasitology and Migration Medicine for Anna-Margarita SCHÖTTA
At the 49th Annual Meeting of the Austrian Society of Tropical Medicine, Parasitology and Migration Medicine (ÖGTPM), held from 12 – 14 November 2015 in Vienna, Anna-Margarita Schötta was awarded the Poster Prize 2015.
Detection of microbial pathogens in ticks collected in Austria
Anna-M. Schötta, Michiel Wijnveld, Hannes Stockinger and Gerold Stanek
Ticks are the second most common hematophagous vectors after mosquitos and can transmit a huge number of various pathogens that can lead to human disease. Cases of tick-borne diseases are often underestimated due to a lack of specific symptoms in the patients. Therefore patients who have been bitten by an infected tick might be suffering from a tickborne disease which could be mistaken for another illness.
Aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of microbial pathogens in ticks collected in Austria with the PCR/reverse line blot hybridization technique. A total number of 554 Ixodes ricinus ticks have been screened by using this method. The pathogen with the highest prevalence detected was Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in 25.6% with B.afzelii (56.3%) being the most frequently detected species within these positive ticks. followed by B.burgdorferi sensu stricto (26.8%) and B.valaisiana (25.4%). B.garinii/B.bavariensis, B.lusitaniae and B.spielmanii have been detected in 19.7%, 3.5% and 0.7% of the Borrelia positive ticks, respectively. Co-infections with multiple Borrelia strains occurred in 27.4% of the positive ticks. Rickettsiae spp. represented the pathogen group with the second highest prevalence in 16.8% of the ticks. The species detected were R.helvetica (41.9%), R.monacensis (2.2%), R.slovaca (1.1%) and interestingly R.raoultii in a very high number (40.9% of the Rickettsia positive ticks) with a hotspot in Vienna (Lainzer Tiergarten). This finding still needs to be further investigated due to the fact that R.raoultii has not been detected in I.ricinus ticks before.
Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Babesia spp. (B.venatorum, B.divergens, B.microti) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum have been detected in 4.3%, 2.7% and 0.7%, respectively. No Coxiella burnetti positive ticks were found.
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