Folia Parasitologica 64:028 (2017) | 10.14411/fp.2017.028
The distribution, variability and host specificity of species of Babesia Starcovici, 1893 were studied in questing ticks collected on the northwestern edge of the Pannonian Basin in the south-easternmost part of the Czech Republic and in western Slovakia. The area is characterised by relatively natural floodplain habitats and the sympatric occurrence of three tick species possessing wide host spectra, namely Ixodes ricinus (Linnaeus), Dermacentor reticulatus (Fabricius) and Haemaphysalis concinna Koch. Analysis was carried out on 1,408 I. ricinus, 2,999 D. reticulatus and 150 H. concinna altogether, collected from 59 localities. We documented the presence of Babesia spp. not only in I. ricinus but also in H. concinna in the Czech Republic. Two isolates from I. ricinus were classified as B. venatorum Herwaldt, Cacciò, Gherlinzoni, Aspöck, Slemenda, Piccaluga, Martinelli, Edelhofer, Hollenstein, Poletti, Pampiglione, Löschenberger, Tura et Pieniazek, 2003 (formerly determined as Babesia sp. EU1), which is a zoonotic parasite and can cause human babesiosis. The rest of our amplicons were very similar to B. canis (Piana et Galli-Valerio, 1895), which is usually transmitted by D. reticulatus. Despite the huge amount of examined samples, all D. reticulatus ticks were Babesia-free. Due to this finding, we did not consider our obtained isolates to be B. canis, but other closely related species possessing a similar sequence of the studied portion of 18S rDNA. Although this genetic marker is most frequently used in PCR-based diagnostic methods of babesias, its low variability compromises its reliability in studies based only on this marker.
Received: April 5, 2017; Accepted: August 1, 2017; Published online: August 23, 2017
This article contains supporting information (Table S1) online at http://folia.paru.cas.cz/suppl/2017-64-028.pdf
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