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Vet Res. 2005 Jan-Feb;36(1):79-87.

Evidence of Bartonella sp. in questing adult and nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks from France and co-infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Babesia sp.

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  • 1UMR 956 INRA/AFSSA/ENVA/UVPM, Microbiologie, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire, 7 avenue du Général de Gaulle, 94 700 Maisons-Alfort, France.


Ticks are known vectors for a wide range of pathogenic microorganisms. Their role in the transmission of some others is so far only suspected. Ticks can transmit multiple pathogens, however, little is known about the co-existence of these pathogens within questing ticks. We looked for the presence of DNA from three micro-organisms, Bartonella sp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Babesia sp. which are known or suspected tick-borne pathogens, using a cohort of 92 questing Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from pastures in northern France. DNA was extracted from each individual tick and the presence of the three pathogens was investigated using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification. Nine among 92 samples (9.8%) demonstrated PCR products using Bartonella specific primers, 3 among 92 (3.3%) using Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato specific primers and 19 among 92 (20.6%) using Babesia specific primers. Seven among 92 samples (7.6%) were PCR positive for at least two of the pathogens and one sample was positive for all three. Adult ticks (12/18; 67%) showed significantly higher infection rates compared to nymphs (11/74; 15%) for all three pathogens (P < 0.001). This study is the demonstration of the simultaneous presence of Bartonella sp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Babesia sp. in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks.

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