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  • 1 Department of Parasitology and Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary
  • | 2 Department of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • | 3 Evolutionary Systems Research Group, Centre for Ecological Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Tihany, Hungary
  • | 4 Institute of Infectology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Insel Riems, Germany
  • | 5 Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, A-1090, Vienna, Austria
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Abstract

Recently, the occurrence of Ixodes (Pholeoixodes) kaiseri has been reported for the first time in several European countries, but data on the molecular analysis of this hard tick species are still lacking. Therefore, in this study DNA extracts of 28 I. kaiseri (collected from dogs and red foxes in Germany, Hungary and Romania) were screened with reverse line blot hybridisation (RLB), PCR and sequencing for the presence of 43 tick-borne pathogens or other members of their families from the categories of Anaplasmataceae, piroplasms, rickettsiae and borreliae. Rickettsia helvetica DNA was detected in one I. kaiseri female (from a red fox, Romania), for the first time in this tick species. Six ticks (from red foxes, Romania) contained the DNA of Babesia vulpes, also for the first time in the case of I. kaiseri. Molecular evidence of R. helvetica and B. vulpes in engorged I. kaiseri does not prove that this tick species is a vector of the above two pathogens, because they might have been taken up by the ticks from the blood of foxes. In addition, one I. kaiseri female (from a dog, Hungary) harboured Babesia sp. badger type-B, identified for the first time in Hungary and Central Europe (i.e. it has been reported previously from Western Europe and China). The latter finding can be explained by either the susceptibility of dogs to Babesia sp. badger type-B, or by transstadial survival of this piroplasm in I. kaiseri.

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