Coincidence of three pathogens (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia microti) in Ixodes ricinus ticks in the Lublin macroregion.

Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland. aaem@galen.imw.lublin.pl
Ann Agric Environ Med 2009;16(1):151–158
Ticks are very important vectors of pathogenic microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoans), which may induce serious contagious diseases in humans and in farm animals. The aim of the study was to determine the coincidence of 3 pathogens: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia microti in Ixodes ricinus ticks in south-eastern Poland and to estimate the degree of infection with each of the examined pathogens depending on the developmental stage of ticks (nymph, female, male). The study material were 1,620 Ixodes ricinus ticks collected at 5 sites in the Lublin macroregion, showing the presence of various forest biotopes. The PCR method was used to identify DNA for B. burgdorferi and A. phagocytophilum, and the nested-PCR - for B. microti. In 1,368 (84.44%) of the 1,620 examined ticks no infections were found. Single infections were noted in 217 ticks (13.4%) and coinfections were detected in 35 specimens (2.16%). The most common was the coincidence of A. phagocytophilum with B. microti (17 infected specimens, 1.05% of the total number). A similar result was obtained for the coincidence of B. burgdorferi s. l. with A. phagocytophilum (15 infected specimens, 0.93% of the total number). Only 2 cases of the coinfection of B. burgdorferi s. l. with B. microti, which equals 0.12% of the total number, were found. Infection with all 3 pathogens was identified in only 1 female tick (0.06% of the total number).