Urbanization of natural areas is considered one of the causes of the current apparent emergence of infectious diseases. Carnivores are among the species that adapt well to urban and periurban environments, facilitating cross-species disease transmission with domestic dogs and cats, and potentially with their owners. The prevalence of vector-borne pathogens (VBP) of zoonotic and veterinary interest was studied in sympatric wild and domestic carnivores into Barcelona Metropolitan Area (NE Spain). Blood or spleen samples from 130 animals, including 34 common genets (Genetta genetta), 12 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), 10 stone martens (Martes foina), three Eurasian badgers (Meles meles), 34 free-roaming domestic cats and 37 dogs with outdoor access, were collected either in protected or adjacent residential areas. A total of 309 ticks (chiefly Rhipicephalus turanicus) were collected on these animals. The samples were analyzed with a battery of PCR assays targeting the DNA of Rickettsia spp., Anaplasmataceae, Coxiella burnetii, Bartonella spp., and Piroplasmida, and the amplicons were sequenced. The fox showed the highest prevalence (58%) and diversity of VBP (four pathogens), whereas none of the dogs were infected. Bartonella spp. (including B. clarridgeiae, B. henselae, and B. rochalimae) was the most prevalent pathogen. Infection of wild carnivores with Ehrlichia canis, C. burnetii, Theileria annae and Babesia vogeli was also confirmed, with some cases of coinfection observed. The presence of DNA of T. annae and B. vogeli was also confirmed in tick pools from four species of wild carnivores, supporting their role in piroplasmid life-cycle. By the sequencing of several target genes, DNA of Rickettsia massiliae was confirmed in 17 pools of Rh. turanicus, Rh. sanguineous, and Rh. pusillus from five different species, and Rickettsia conorii in one pool of Rh. sanguineous from a dog. None of the hosts from which these ticks were collected was infected by Rickettsia. Although carnivores may not be reservoir hosts for zoonotic Rickettsia, they can have an important role as mechanical dispersers of infected ticks.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Enfermedades infecciosas