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Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2016, 1(1), 4; doi:10.3390/tropicalmed1010004

Ixodes holocyclus Tick-Transmitted Human Pathogens in North-Eastern New South Wales, Australia

1
Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory, Geelong, 3220 VIC, Australia
2
Wongaburra Research Centre, Vetx Research, Casino, NSW 2470, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John Frean
Received: 4 August 2016 / Revised: 8 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 August 2016 / Published: 11 August 2016
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Abstract

A group of 14 persons who live in an area of Australia endemic for the Australian paralysis tick, Ixodes holocyclus, and who were involved in regularly collecting and handling these ticks, was examined for antibodies to tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens. Five (36%) had antibodies to Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever and three (21%) had antibodies to spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae (Rickettsia spp). None had antibodies to Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Orientia, or Borrelia (Lymedisease) suggesting that they had not been exposed to these bacteria. A total of 149 I. holocyclus ticks were examined for the citrate synthase (gltA) gene of the SFG rickettsiae and the com1 gene of C. burnetii; 23 (15.4%) ticks were positive for Rickettsia spp. and 8 (5.6%) positive for Coxiella spp. Sequencing of fragments of the gltA gene and the 17 kDa antigen gene from a selection of the ticks showed 99% and 100% homology, respectively, to Rickettsia australis, the bacterium causing Queenslandtick typhus. Thus, it appears that persons bitten by I. holocyclus in NE NSW, Australia have an approximate one in six risk of being infected with R. australis. Risks of Q fever were also high in this region but this may have been due to exposure by aerosol from the environment rather than by tick bite. A subset of 74 I. holocyclus ticks were further examined for DNA from Borrelia spp., Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. but none was positive. Some of these recognised human bacterial pathogens associated with ticks may not be present in this Australian tick species from northeastern New South Wales. View Full-Text
Keywords: tick; Ixodes holocyclus; pathogens; Australia tick; Ixodes holocyclus; pathogens; Australia
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

Graves, S.R.; Jackson, C.; Hussain-Yusuf, H.; Vincent, G.; Nguyen, C.; Stenos, J.; Webster, M. Ixodes holocyclus Tick-Transmitted Human Pathogens in North-Eastern New South Wales, Australia. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2016, 1, 4.

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Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. EISSN 2414-6366 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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