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Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2012 Dec;3(5-6):355-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2012.10.019. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Rickettsiae of spotted fever group, Borrelia valaisiana, and Coxiella burnetii in ticks on passerine birds and mammals from the Camargue in the south of France.

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Aix Marseille Université, Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes (URMITE), UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095, WHO Collaborative Center for Rickettsioses and Other Arthropod Borne Bacterial Diseases, 27 bd Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille cedex 5, France.


Ticks are obligate hematophagous arthropods that have a limited mobility, but can be transported over large geographical distances by wild and domestic mammals and birds. In this study, we analyze the presence of emerging zoonotic bacteria in ticks collected from passerine birds and mammals present in the Camargue, in the south of France, which is a major rallying point for birds migrating from Eurasia and Africa. The presence of Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia, Borrelia, and Bartonella was examined by real-time PCR on DNA samples extracted from 118 ticks. Rickettsia massiliae was detected in ticks from Passer domesticus, Ri. aeschlimannii in ticks from Acrocephalus scirpaceus and Luscinia megarhynchos, and Borrelia valaisiana in one tick from Turdus merula. In addition, Ri. massiliae, Ri. slovaca, Candidatus Ri. barbariae, and C. burnetii were detected in ticks from dogs, horses, cats, and humans. No Bartonella DNA was detected in these samples. The migratory birds may play a role in the transmission of infectious diseases and contribute to the geographic distribution of Ri. aeschlimannii, Bo. valaisiana, and C. burnetii. The role of birds in spreading Rh. sanguineus ticks infected with Ri. massiliae needs to be clarified by complementary studies. This is the first detection of Candidatus Ri. barbariae in Rh. sanguineus from the south of France.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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