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Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2019 Jan;10(1):72-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.08.018. Epub 2018 Sep 3.

Tick infestations of wildlife and companion animals in Ontario, Canada, with detection of human pathogens in Ixodes scapularis ticks.

Author information

1
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. Electronic address: ksmith19@uoguelph.ca.
2
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. Electronic address: ptoesterle@gmail.com.
3
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. Electronic address: cjardi01@uoguelph.ca.
4
National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Electronic address: antonia.dibernardo@canada.ca.
5
National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Electronic address: chris.huynh@canada.ca.
6
National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Electronic address: robbin.lindsay@canada.ca.
7
Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. Electronic address: dpearl@uoguelph.ca.
8
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. Electronic address: nmnemeth@uga.edu.

Abstract

The growing risk of transmission of tick-borne zoonotic pathogens to humans in Ontario, Canada, warrants investigations into regional tick distribution, tick burdens of local peridomestic animals, and prevalence of tick-borne pathogens. The objectives of this study were to investigate the geographic distribution and magnitude of tick infestations in opportunistically sampled mammalian wildlife and companion animals (i.e., dogs) in southern Ontario and to test these ticks for evidence of zoonotic tick-borne pathogens. Ticks collected from wildlife carcasses, live-trapped wildlife and companion animals (2015-2016), as well as wildlife diagnostic cases (2011-2013), were identified to species and life stage. Ixodes scapularis ticks were tested by real-time PCR for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.). Amblyomma americanum ticks were tested for Ehrlichia chaffeensis. A total of 1687 ticks of six species were collected from 334 animals, including 224 raccoons (n = 1381 ticks) and 50 dogs (n = 67 ticks). The most common tick species collected from parasitized raccoons were Ixodes texanus (n = 666 ticks) and Dermacentor variabilis (n = 600 ticks), which were removed from 58.5% (median: 2 ticks; range: 1-36) and 49.1% (median: 2 ticks; range: 1-64) of raccoons, respectively. Of I. scapularis tested, 9.3% (4/43) were positive for Bo. burgdorferi s.s. and 2.3% (1/43) for A. phagocytophilum. These results reveal that numerous tick species parasitize common, peridomestic wildlife and that at least two zoonotic, tick-borne pathogens circulate in southern Ontario. Host-tick vector-pathogen dynamics should continue to be monitored in the face of global climate change, landscape alterations and expanding human populations.

KEYWORDS:

Anaplasma phagocytophilum; Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto; Canada; Ixodes scapularis; Ticks; Wildlife

PMID:
30206012
DOI:
10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.08.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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