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Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Jan;9(1):63-70.

Seasonal dynamics of Anaplasma phagocytophila in a rodent-tick (Ixodes trianguliceps) system, United Kingdom.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Science and Animal Husbandry, Leahurst, University of Liverpool, Chester High Road, Neston, UK.


We investigated the reservoir role of European wild rodents for Anaplasma phagocytophila using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of blood collected from individually tagged rodents captured monthly over 2 years. The only tick species observed in the woodland study site was Ixodes trianguliceps, and ruminant reservoir hosts were not known to occur. A. phagocytophila infections were detected in both bank voles and wood mice but were restricted to periods of peak nymphal and adult tick activity. Most PCR-positive rodents were positive only once, suggesting that rodent infections are generally short-lived and that ticks rather than rodents may maintain the infection over winter. Bank voles were more likely to be PCR positive than wood mice, possibly because detectable infections are longer lived in bank voles. This study confirms that woodland rodents can maintain A. phagocytophila in Great Britain in the absence of other reservoir hosts and suggests that I. trianguliceps is a competent vector.

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