Evaluating transmission paths for three different Bartonella spp. in Ixodes ricinus ticks using artificial feeding

  • Bartonellae are facultative intracellular alpha-proteobacteria often transmitted by arthropods. Ixodes ricinus is the most important vector for arthropod-borne pathogens in Europe. However, its vector competence for Bartonella spp. is still unclear. This study aimed to experimentally compare its vector competence for three Bartonella species: B. henselae, B. grahamii, and B. schoenbuchensis. A total of 1333 ticks (1021 nymphs and 312 adults) were separated into four groups, one for each pathogen and a negative control group. Ticks were fed artificially with bovine blood spiked with the respective Bartonella species. DNA was extracted from selected ticks to verify Bartonella-infection by PCR. DNA of Bartonella spp. was detected in 34% of nymphs and females after feeding. The best engorgement results were obtained by ticks fed with B. henselae-spiked blood (65.3%) and B. schoenbuchensis (61.6%). Significantly more nymphs fed on infected blood (37.3%) molted into adults compared to the control group (11.4%). Bartonella DNA was found in 22% of eggs laid by previously infected females and in 8.6% of adults molted from infected nymphs. The transovarial and transstadial transmission of bartonellae suggest that I. ricinus could be a potential vector for three bacteria.

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Author:Nina Król, Nina Militzer, Elisa Stöbe, Ard M. Nijhof, Martin Pfeffer, Volkhard A. J. KempfORCiDGND, Anna Obiegala
Parent Title (English):Microorganisms
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/04/22
Date of first Publication:2021/04/22
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/10/06
Tag:Bartonella grahamii; Bartonella henselae; Bartonella schoenbuchensis; Ixodes ricinus; artificial feeding; females; nymphs; transovarial transmission; transstadial transmission; vector
Issue:5, art. 901
Page Number:12
First Page:1
Last Page:12
This research was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) through the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) with grant number 2818HS005 to AO. NM and AMN received financial support by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under project number 01KI1720 as part of the ‘Research Network Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.’
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0