Introduction and objective:
Dermacentor reticulatus is one of the tick species of the greatest epidemiological importance in Europe. To date, the Eastern European and Western European populations of this tick species have been separated by an area located in Poland where the species has never been found. In this study, newly discovered D. reticulatus localities in areas transformed by human activities in central-southern Poland are described.

Material and methods:
The specimens of the ornate dog tick were identified among ticks collected from companion animals in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. They were examined using PCR methods to detect Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp., Babesia spp., and Toxoplasma gondii. In the case of the positive results, the amplicons were sequenced and examined by a BLAST search.

In total, 6 specimens of D. reticulatus were collected (3 females and 3 males). As declared by the owners, animal hosts stayed in the same area throughout the study period and had never travelled outside their place of residence. As many as 3/6 (50%) of D. reticulatus adults removed from dogs were infected with Rickettsia raoultii.

The results expand the available data on the spread of the ornate dog tick and indicate that, since 2010, this tick species and Rickettsia raoultii transmitted by this tick species have probably been present in this area, which has a strongly transformed agricultural structure and and had previously been regarded as a D. reticulatus-free zone. The presence of the ornate dog tick in urban and suburban habitats in central-southern Poland poses new threats to the health of companion animals and humans associated with the transmission of pathogens by this species.

The authors thank Marcin Wasilewski for preparing the map of the research area.
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