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Home » Archive » 2015

TDK conference 2015

Detection of Borrelia miyamotoi in road-killed hedgehogs and ticks removed from them
Tóth Evelin - year 6
SzIU,Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Parasitolgy and Zoology
Supervisor: Gábor Földvári DVM

Abstract:

Northern white-breasted hedgehogs (Erinaceus roumanicus) in Hungary, similar to other European countries, live in close contact with people due to urbanisation. They have an optimal size and behaviour to carry many ectoparasites, especially ticks. The aim of our study was to examine the presence of Borrelia miyamotoi transmitted by ticks and causes relapsing fever zoonotic spirochetes in both the tissues of the animals and the removed ticks.

As Northern white-breasted hedgehogs are protected animals, we only used dead ones. Due to their specific way of self-defence, they are frequent victims of vehicular traffic, thus we mostly used carcasses run over by cars and collected from the roads. We performed necropsy on the 23 road-hit hedgehogs and corresponding to the degree of autolysis, we took tissue samples from the skin, muscle, spleen and in certain cases from the liver and blood (52 samples) and examined these with molecular methods. We extracted the DNA from the samples with a commercial kit and with the help of a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysed the presence of the pathogens. We have removed from the cadavers more than 400 ticks belonging to Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes hexagonus, amongst which we found adults, nymphs and larvae as well. Having identified the species and stages, we extracted the DNA from the ticks by alkaline hydrolysis and likewise the tissue samples we screened for the presence of Borrelia miyamotoi DNA with qPCR. Seventeen from 23 hedgehogs examined (74%) were positive for B. miyamotoi. We found positives in both tick species and among both I. hexagonus and I. ricinus removed from qPCR-negative hedgehogs were also positive ones. Based on this relatively limited sample number we can conclude that urban hedgehogs can play an important role in the epidemiology of the recently described pathogen, B. miyamotoi.



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