BACKGROUND: Wildlife can act as reservoir of different tick-borne pathogens, such as bacteria, parasites and viruses. The aim of the present study was to assess the presence of tick-borne bacteria and protozoa with veterinary and zoonotic importance in cervids and wild boars from the Centre and South of Portugal.
METHODS: One hundred and forty one blood samples from free-ranging ungulates including 73 red deer (Cervus elaphus), 65 wild boars (Sus scrofa) and three fallow deer (Dama dama) were tested for the presence of Anaplasma marginale/A. ovis, A. phagocytophilum, Anaplasma/Ehrlichia spp., Babesia/Theileria spp., Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) (s.l.), and Rickettsia spp. DNA by PCR.
RESULTS: Anaplasma spp. DNA was detected in 33 (43.4 %) cervids (31 red deer and two fallow deer) and in two (3.1 %) wild boars while Theileria spp. were found in 34 (44.7 %) cervids (32 red deer and two fallow deer) and in three (4.6 %) wild boar blood samples. Sequence analysis of msp4 sequences identified A. marginale, A. ovis, while the analysis of rDNA sequence data disclosed the presence of A. platys and A. phagocytophilum and T. capreoli and Theileria sp. OT3. Anaplasma spp./Theileria spp. mixed infections were found in 17 cervids (22.4 %) and in two wild boars (3.1 %). All samples were negative for Babesia sp., B. burgdorferi (s.l.), Ehrlichia sp. or Rickettsia sp.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first detection of Anaplasma marginale, A. ovis, A. phagocytophilum, A. platys, Theileria capreoli and Theileria sp. OT3 in cervids and wild boars from Portugal. Further studies concerning the potential pathogenicity of the different species of Anaplasma and Theileria infecting wild ungulates, the identification of their vector range, and their putative infectivity to domestic livestock and humans should be undertaken.
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't