Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Parasitology Research
Babesia cf. microti (syn. Theileria annae, Babesia microti-like, Babesia vulpes) is a recently recognized tick-borne piroplasm that infects domestic and wild carnivores. Although Ixodes hexagonus is considered as the leading candidate responsible for the transmission, its capacity to act as a competent vector has not yet been confirmed. This study reports the occurrence of B.cf. microti in unfed Dermacentor reticulatus for the first time, suggesting that this tick species may be implicated in the life cycle of this canine parasite. Out of 128 questing D. reticulatus ticks collected in eastern Austria, nine (7%) and four (3%) of them were found to be PCR positive for B. canis and B. cf. microti, respectively. Although the data presented here are not sufficient to explicitly state that D. reticulatus is a competent vector of B. cf. microti, our results can at least give a hint for future studies, which need to include experimental transmission in order to confirm its vector competence and possible involvement in the transmission of this babesial species.