Golden jackals (Canis aureus) as hosts for ticks and tick-borne pathogens in Serbia
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The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a medium-sized canid species native to Europe. This species is characterized by rapid large-scale expansion. A similar trend is also observed in Serbia, where the species is now distributed in more than a half of the territory. Although jackals prefer habitats in human-dominated landscapes, these animals have not been studied well enough from an eco-epidemiological point of view, and little is known about their potential for carrying zoonotic pathogens. In a study conducted during a three-year period (01/2010-02/2013), a total of 216 hunted or road-killed golden jackals were collected from 10 localities in Serbia. Ticks, when present, were removed, and after necropsy, spleen samples were collected from each animal. All tick and spleen samples were tested for the DNA of bacterial and protozoan tick-borne pathogens (Borrelia species, Bartonella species, Rickettsia species, Anaplasma species, Coxiella burnetii, Francisella species and Babesia species) b...y multiplex real-time PCR, conventional PCR and sequencing analyses. The DNA of Babesia canis was detected in nine out of 216 (4.2%) spleen samples, and two samples (0.9%) tested positive for Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In 118 ticks collected from jackals, the DNA of two Babesia species (Ba. canis and Ba. microti), three Borrelia species (Bo. garinii, Bo. valaisiana, and Bo. lusitaniae) and A. marginale was detected. From the aspect of public health surveillance, the potential role of the golden jackal in the maintenance of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens in Serbia must be considered, and further eco-epidemiological studies should be performed to determine the precise role of this animal species in zoonotic disease transmission cycles.
Keywords:Tick-borne pathogens / Canis aureus / Babesia spp / Anaplasma phagocytophilum / Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato / Serbia
Source:Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, 2018, 9, 5, 1090-1097
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