Ticks are ubiquitous arthropods and vectors of several pathogenic agents in animals and humans. Monitoring questing ticks is of great importance to ascertain the occurrence of pathogens and the potential vector species, offering an insight into the risk of disease transmission in a given area. In this study 428 host-seeking ticks, belonging to nine species of Ixodidae and collected from 17 of the 23 Portuguese mainland subregions, were screened for several tick-borne agents with veterinary relevance: Anaplasmamarginale, Anaplasma ovis, Anaplasma centrale, Babesia spp., Coxiella burnetii and Theileria spp. Prevalence was assessed by PCR and amplified amplicons sequenced for validation of results. Twenty ticks, in a total of 428, were found positive: one Ixodes ventalloi for Theileria annulata and four Dermacentor marginatus, one Haemaphysalis punctata, five Ixodes ricinus, five I. ventalloi, and four Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato for A. marginale. According to the reviewed literature, this is the first report of A. marginale and T. annulata detection in I. ventalloi. Furthermore, the amplification of A. marginale DNA in several tick species suggests a broad range for this agent in Portugal that might include other uncommon species as R. sanguineus s.l. This work provides new data towards a better understanding of tick-pathogen associations and also contributes to the surveillance of tick-borne agents in geographic areas with limited information.
- Anaplasma marginale
- Theileria annulata