First evidence of Babesia venatorum and Babesia capreoli in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks in the Czech Republic
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Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic
Masaryk University, Department of Experimental Biology, Brno, Czech Republic
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(2):212-214
Introduction and objective:
Ixodes ricinus is the most common tick species occurring in Central Europe and it serves as a principal vector of emerging human pathogens. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Babesia spp. in host-seeking I. ricinus in urban and natural habitats.

Material and Methods:
PCR was applied on samples to assess prevalence of Babesia spp. in questing ixodid ticks. Sequencing was used for Babesia species determination.

1,473 I. ricinus ticks (1,294 nymphs, 99 males and 80 females) were examined for the presence of Babesia spp. at the two study sites. Minimum infection rate for Babesia spp. was found to be 0.5% (infected I. ricinus nymphs were only detected in the natural ecosystem). Two Babesia species were identified by sequencing: B. venatorum (formerly called Babesia sp. EU1) and B. capreoli.

The results obtained represent the first evidence of the occurrence of B. venatorum and B. capreoli in host-seeking I. ricinus ticks in the Czech Republic.

The authors would like to thank Dr. M. Zahler-Rinder and Dr. Philippe Mendonca at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, for providing positive controls of babesial DNA. They also extend their thanks to the Operational Programme Education for Competiveness Project CEB (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0183). The study was partially funded by the EU Grant FP7–261504 EDENext (http://www.edenext. eu). The publication is catalogued by the EDENext Steering Committee as EDENext178. The contents of this paper are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.
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