Publication: Rickettsia helvetica and R. monacensis in ectoparasitic mites

Researchers believe ectoparasitic mites may be reservoirs as well as vectors of some pathogenic rickettsiae following their detection of Rickettsia helvetica and R. monacensis in ectoparasitic mites infesting rodents in south-western Slovakia.

Writing in Parasitology Research, they report: “Information on circulation of rickettsiae between small mammals and their ectoparasitic mites is scarce. In this study, we investigated infestation rates of rodents with mites in some areas of SW Slovakia and the role of mites as possible vectors of pathogenic rickettsiae.

“A total of 615 rodents of five species were caught during 2010–2012. All individuals were examined for ectoparasites which resulted in 2,821 mites belonging to three species of Laelapidae and six species of Trombiculidae. The most common Laelapidae species was Laelaps agilis (81.25%), followed by Haemogamasus nidi, and Eulaelaps stabularis. Hirsutiella zachvatkini (16.52%) was the dominant species of the family Trombiculidae.

“DNA extracted from rodent blood and ectoparasitic mites was examined for the presence of rickettsiae by PCR. By pooling mites, 345 pool samples were created, of which 112 (32.46%) were found to be positive for the rickettsial DNA. From 487 examined rodent blood samples, rickettsial DNA was found in 46 (9.44%).

“Sequencing DNA from the positive blood samples and mites revealed the identity of Rickettsia helvetica and Rickettsia monacensis. The results of the study suggest that ectoparasitic mites may be reservoirs as well as vectors of some pathogenic rickettsiae.”

Taken from: Katarína Miťková, Lenka Berthová, Stanislav Kalúz, Mária Kazimírová, Lenka Burdová, Elena Kocianová. First detections of Rickettsia helvetica and R. monacensis in ectoparasitic mites (Laelapidae and Trombiculidae) infesting rodents in south-western Slovakia. Parasitology Research, April 2015. Doi: 10.1007/s00436-015-4443-x (EDENext328)

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Published: 08/05/2015

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