Online Ahead of Print: February 27, 2014
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Fabiola Mancini,1,* Marco Di Luca,1 Jacopo G. Cecere,2,6 Riccardo Bianchi,1 Cristina Khoury,1 Elisa Quarchioni,3 Francesca Manzia,4 Giovanni Rezza,1 and Alessandra Ciervo1
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Italy E-mail: email@example.com
Tick species characterization and molecular studies were performed within ornithological surveys conducted during 2010 and 2011 in the Lazio Region of central Italy. A total of 137 ticks were collected from 41 migratory birds belonging to 17 species (four partial migrants and 13 long-distance migrants). Most ticks were nymphs, with a predominance of Hyalomma marginatum marginatum and H. m. rufipes, and a small portion of Ixodes and Amblyomma species.
All tick species analyzed were infected, and the molecular pathogen recognition revealed the presence of Rickettsia aeschlimannii, Rickettsia africae, Erlichia spp., Coxiella burnetii, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group, and Babesia microti, whereas no genomic DNA of Bartonella spp. or Francisella tularensis was detected.
The results of the survey show that H. marginatum ticks appear to be a vector of microbial agents that may affect human and animal health and that migratory birds may be an important carrier of these ticks. Additional studies are needed to better investigate the role of migratory birds in the epidemiology of these pathogens.