Ticks harbor numerous pathogens of significance to human and animal health. A better understanding of the pathogens carried by ticks in a given geographic area can alert health care providers of specific health risks leading to better diagnosis and treatments. In this study, we tested 226 Ixodes ricinis ticks from Southern Germany using a broad-range PCR and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry assay (PCR/ESI-MS) designed to identify tick-borne bacterial and protozoan pathogens in a single test. We found 21.2% of the ticks tested carried Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato consisting of diverse genospecies; a surprisingly high percentage of ticks were infected with Babesia microti (3.5%). Other organisms found included Borrelia miyamotoi, Rickettsia helvetica, Rickettsia monacensis, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Of further significance was our finding that more than 7% of ticks were infected with more than one pathogen or putative pathogen.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2014 Aug;14(8):584-91