High-throughput screening of tick-borne pathogens in Europe
Lorraine Michelet; Sabine Delannoy; Elodie Devillers; Gérald Umhang; Anna Aspan; Mikael Juremalm; Jan Chirico; Fimme J. van der Wal; Hein Sprong; Thomas P. Boye Pihl; Kirstine Klitgaard; Rene Bødker; Patrick Fach; Sara Moutailler
Due to increased travel, climatic, and environmental changes, the incidence of tick-borne disease in both humans and animals is increasing throughout Europe. Therefore, extended surveillance tools are desirable. To accurately screen tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), a large scale epidemiological study was conducted on 7050 Ixodes ricinus nymphs collected from France, Denmark, and the Netherlands using a powerful new high-throughput approach. This advanced methodology permitted the simultaneous detection of 25 bacterial, and 12 parasitic species (including; Borrelia, Anaplasma,Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, Bartonella, Candidatus Neoehrlichia, Coxiella, Francisella, Babesia, andTheileria genus) across 94 samples. We successfully determined the prevalence of expected (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia helvetica, Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Babesia divergens, Babesia venatorum), unexpected (Borrelia miyamotoi), and rare (Bartonella henselae) pathogens in the three European countries. Moreover we detected Borrelia spielmanii, Borrelia miyamotoi, Babesia divergens, and Babesia venatorum for the first time in Danish ticks. This surveillance method represents a major improvement in epidemiological studies, able to facilitate comprehensive testing of TBPs, and which can also be customized to monitor emerging diseases.