Molecular study of transovarial transmission of Babesia canis in the Dermacentor reticulatus tick
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Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Poland
The Dermacentor reticulatus tick is a main vector of Babesia canis in Europe. The risk of canine babesiosis is unpredictable, due to significant differences in the prevalence of B. canis between ticks originating from closely situated regions. This phenomenon may be explained by vertical transmission of the pathogen in a vector population. Thus, molecular techniques were applied to investigate the occurrence of transovarial transmission in D. reticulatus ticks. DNA of B. canis was detected in 20.7% (6/29) of engorged female ticks collected from dogs, in every pool of eggs laid by positive females (100%, 6/6) and in larvae hatched from these eggs. In the pools of eggs collected from two positive females (2/6; 33.3%), no larvae hatched and no embryos were observed inside the eggs. Conclusions. Transovarial transmission of B. canis can be an important mechanism supporting maintenance of the pathogen in the environment without the presence of a reservoir vertebrate host. However, the efficiency of transovarial transmission in the maintenance of B. canis in natural conditions requires further field research.
Ewa Julia Mierzejewska   
University of Warsaw, Faculty of Biology, ul. Miecznikowa 1, 02-096 Warszawa, Poland
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