Babesia ssp. and Anaplasma spp. are tick-borne microorganisms representing a possible health risk for domestic and wild animals, as well as humans. Roe deer serve as a suitable reservoir host for some species ascribed to Babesia spp. and Anaplasma phagocytophilum taxa, also due to its important role in the maintenance of large populations of Ixodes ricinus, the main tick vector of these path-ogens in Europe. Roe deer populations have been recently expanding throughout Europe, namely in Italy. However, the collection of samples from free-ranging wild animals for diagnostic in-vestigations often includes several practical issues. This problem can be overcome using samples provided by wildlife rescue centers making them available for investigations following routine analyses. The presence of Babesia spp. and Anaplasma spp. in blood samples of 43 roe deer rescued by a wildlife rescue center in Emilia-Romagna region (Italy) was molecularly investigated. PCR screening revealed the presence of at least one pathogen in 86.05% of the animals, while co-infection occurred in 18.92% of the tested individuals. Zoonotic Babesia venatorum was found in 6.98% of the samples, while Babesia capreoli and Anaplasma phagocytophilum were detected in 74.42% and in 20.93%, respectively. No hematological signs compatible with clinical anaplasmosis or piroplasmosis, as well as absence of intracellular circulating microorganisms in blood smears, were observed, suggesting asymptomatic infection in the tested animals. These results confirm the usefulness of wild rescued animals as convenient source of biological samples for tick-borne pathogens investigation and the role of roe deer as a key factor in the endemic cycle of Babesia species and A. phagocytophilum.

Molecular Survey of Babesia spp. and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Roe Deer from a Wildlife Rescue Center in Italy / A. Cafiso, C. Bazzocchi, M. Cavagna, E. Di Lorenzo, V. Serra, R. Rossi, S. Comazzi. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 11:11(2021 Nov), pp. 3335.1-3335.10. [10.3390/ani11113335]

Molecular Survey of Babesia spp. and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Roe Deer from a Wildlife Rescue Center in Italy

A. Cafiso
Primo
;
C. Bazzocchi
Secondo
;
V. Serra;S. Comazzi
Ultimo
2021-11

Abstract

Babesia ssp. and Anaplasma spp. are tick-borne microorganisms representing a possible health risk for domestic and wild animals, as well as humans. Roe deer serve as a suitable reservoir host for some species ascribed to Babesia spp. and Anaplasma phagocytophilum taxa, also due to its important role in the maintenance of large populations of Ixodes ricinus, the main tick vector of these path-ogens in Europe. Roe deer populations have been recently expanding throughout Europe, namely in Italy. However, the collection of samples from free-ranging wild animals for diagnostic in-vestigations often includes several practical issues. This problem can be overcome using samples provided by wildlife rescue centers making them available for investigations following routine analyses. The presence of Babesia spp. and Anaplasma spp. in blood samples of 43 roe deer rescued by a wildlife rescue center in Emilia-Romagna region (Italy) was molecularly investigated. PCR screening revealed the presence of at least one pathogen in 86.05% of the animals, while co-infection occurred in 18.92% of the tested individuals. Zoonotic Babesia venatorum was found in 6.98% of the samples, while Babesia capreoli and Anaplasma phagocytophilum were detected in 74.42% and in 20.93%, respectively. No hematological signs compatible with clinical anaplasmosis or piroplasmosis, as well as absence of intracellular circulating microorganisms in blood smears, were observed, suggesting asymptomatic infection in the tested animals. These results confirm the usefulness of wild rescued animals as convenient source of biological samples for tick-borne pathogens investigation and the role of roe deer as a key factor in the endemic cycle of Babesia species and A. phagocytophilum.
Babesia; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; rescued animal; roe deer; zoonosis; tick-borne pathogen; wildlife; northern Italy; rescued animal
Settore VET/06 - Parassitologia e Malattie Parassitarie degli Animali
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/885028
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