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Pathogens 2016, 5(2), 41; doi:10.3390/pathogens5020041

Rickettsia Detected in the Reptile Tick Bothriocroton hydrosauri from the Lizard Tiliqua rugosa in South Australia

1
School of the Environment, Health and the Environment, Flinders University, GPO BOX 2100, Adelaide 5001, Australia
2
School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, Australia
3
Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory, Barwon Health, Geelong Hospital, PO BOX 281, Geelong 3220, Australia
4
Evolutionary Biology Unit, South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Lawrence S. Young
Received: 27 January 2016 / Revised: 1 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 8 June 2016
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Abstract

Rickettsiosis is a potentially fatal tick borne disease. It is caused by the obligate intracellular bacteria Rickettsia, which is transferred to humans through salivary excretions of ticks during the biting process. Globally, the incidence of tick-borne diseases is increasing; as such, there is a need for a greater understanding of tick–host interactions to create more informed risk management strategies. Flinders Island spotted fever rickettsioses has been identified throughout Australia (Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Torres Strait Islands) with possible identifications in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Italy. Flinders Island spotted fever is thought to be spread through tick bites and the reptile tick Bothriocroton hydrosauri has been implicated as a vector in this transmission. This study used qPCR to assay Bothriocroton hydrosauri ticks collected from Tiliqua rugosa (sleepy lizard) hosts on mainland South Australia near where spotted fever cases have been identified. We report that, although we discovered Rickettsia in all tick samples, it was not Rickettsia honei. This study is the first to use PCR to positively identify Rickettsia from South Australian Bothriocroton hydrosauri ticks collected from Tiliqua rugosa (sleepy lizard) hosts. These findings suggest that B. hydrosauri may be a vector of multiple Rickettsia spp. Also as all 41 tested B. hydrosauri ticks were positive for Rickettsia this indicates an extremely high prevalence within the studied area in South Australia. View Full-Text
Keywords: Rickettsia; Flinders Island spotted fever; rickettsioses; Bothriocroton hydrosauri; Tiliqua rugosa; tick; PCR Rickettsia; Flinders Island spotted fever; rickettsioses; Bothriocroton hydrosauri; Tiliqua rugosa; tick; PCR
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Whiley, H.; Custance, G.; Graves, S.; Stenos, J.; Taylor, M.; Ross, K.; Gardner, M.G. Rickettsia Detected in the Reptile Tick Bothriocroton hydrosauri from the Lizard Tiliqua rugosa in South Australia. Pathogens 2016, 5, 41.

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