Postdoc, Columbia University
The first report of vertical transmission of Babesia microti in two wild host species.
I plan to present research of how Babesia (the causative agent of human babesiosis, which produces similar symptoms as malaria), is transmitted from a mother to her fetuses in the womb. This is the first time this process has been reported in the United States in the pathogen's natural hosts in the wild. Previously, the most commonly known transmission pathway was from ticks (Ixodes scapularis) to host (small rodents or humans), this research provides insights into other infection pathways for the spread of this disease into other regions and populations including humans.
Abstract: Babesia spp. (Apicomplexa, Piroplasmida) are obligate parasites of many species of mammals, causing a malaria-like infection- babesiosis. Three routes of Babesia infection have been recognized to date. The main route is by a tick bite, the second is via blood transfusion. The third, vertical route of infection is poorly recognized and understood. Our study focused on vertical transmission of B. microti in a well-established mouse model. We assessed the success of this route of infection in BALB/c mice with acute and chronic infections of B. microti. In experimental groups, females were mated on the 1st day of Babesia infection (Group G0); on the 28th day post infection (dpi) in the post- acute phase of the parasite infection (G28); and on the 90th and 150th dpi (G90 and G150 group, respectively), in the chronic phase of the parasite infection. Pups were obtained from 58% of females mated in the post-acute phase (G28) and from 33% of females in groups G90 and G150. Mice mated in the pre-acute phase of infection (G0) did not deliver pups. Congenital B. microti infections were detected by PCR amplification of Babesia 18S rDNA in almost all pups (96%) from the experimental groups G28, G90 and G150. Parasitaemia in the F1 generation was low and varied between 0.01-0.001%. Vertical transmission of B. microti was demonstrated for the first time in BALB/c mice.
Pub.: 16 Sep '15, Pinned: 05 Oct '17
Abstract: Vertical transmission is one of the transmission routes for Babesia microti, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease, babesiosis. Congenital Babesia invasions have been recorded in laboratory mice, dogs and humans. The aim of our study was to determine if vertical transmission of B. microti occurs in naturally-infected reservoir hosts of the genus Microtus.We sampled 124 common voles, Microtus arvalis; 76 root voles, M. oeconomus and 17 field voles, M. agrestis. In total, 113 embryos were isolated from 20 pregnant females. Another 11 pregnant females were kept in the animal house at the field station in Urwitałt until they had given birth and weaned their pups (n = 62). Blood smears and/or PCR targeting the 550 bp 18S rRNA gene fragment were used for the detection of B. microti. Selected PCR products, including isolates from females/dams and their embryos/pups, were sequenced.Positive PCR reactions were obtained for 41% (89/217) of the wild-caught voles. The highest prevalence of B. microti was recorded in M. arvalis (56/124; 45.2%), then in M. oeconomus (30/76; 39.5%) and the lowest in M. agrestis (3/17; 17.7%). Babesia microti DNA was detected in 61.4% (27/44) of pregnant females. Vertical transmission was confirmed in 81% (61/75) of the embryos recovered from Babesia-positive wild-caught pregnant females. The DNA of B. microti was detected in the hearts, lungs and livers of embryos from 98% of M. arvalis, 46% of M. oeconomus and 0% of M. agrestis embryos from Babesia-positive females. Of the pups born in captivity, 90% were born to Babesia-positive dams. Babesia microti DNA was detected in 70% (35/50) of M. arvalis and 83% (5/6) of M. oeconomus pups. Congenitally acquired infections had no impact on the survival of pups over a 3-week period post partum. Among 97 B. microti sequences, two genotypes were found. The IRU1 genotype (Jena-like) was dominant in wild-caught voles (49/53; 92%), pregnant females (9/11; 82%) and dams (3/5; 60%). The IRU2 genotype (Munich-like) was dominant among B. microti positive embryos (20/27; 74%) and pups (12/17; 71%).A high rate of vertical transmission of the two main rodent genotypes of B. microti was confirmed in two species of naturally infected voles, M. arvalis and M. oeconomus.
Pub.: 09 Feb '17, Pinned: 05 Oct '17
Abstract: Human babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne infectious disease caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan species of the genus Babesia with many clinical features similar to those of malaria. Over the last 50 years, the epidemiology of human babesiosis has changed from a few isolated cases to the establishment of endemic areas in the northeastern and midwestern United States. Episodic cases are reported in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. The severity of infection ranges from asymptomatic infection to fulminant disease resulting in death, although the majority of healthy adults experience a mild-to-moderate illness. People over the age of 50 years and immunocompromised individuals are at the highest risk of severe disease, including those with malignancy, HIV, lacking a spleen, or receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Asymptomatic carriers present a blood safety risk when they donate blood. Definitive diagnosis of babesial infection generally is made by microscopic identification of the organism on thin blood smear, amplification of Babesia DNA using PCR, and detection of Babesia antibody in acute and convalescent sera. Specific antimicrobial therapy consists of atovaquone and azithromycin or clindamycin and quinine. Exchange transfusion is used in severe cases. The use of multiple prevention strategies is recommended and consists of personal, residential, and community approaches.
Pub.: 04 Sep '09, Pinned: 05 Oct '17
Abstract: Human babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne disease caused by the intraerythrocytic protozoan Babesia microti. Its geographic distribution is more limited than that of Lyme disease, despite sharing the same tick vector and reservoir hosts. The geographic range of babesiosis is expanding, but knowledge of its range is incomplete and relies exclusively on reports of human cases. We evaluated the utility of tick-based surveillance for monitoring disease expansion by comparing the ratios of the 2 infections in humans and ticks in areas with varying B. microti endemicity. We found a close association between human disease and tick infection ratios in long-established babesiosis-endemic areas but a lower than expected incidence of human babesiosis on the basis of tick infection rates in new disease-endemic areas. This finding suggests that babesiosis at emerging sites is underreported. Vector-based surveillance can provide an early warning system for the emergence of human babesiosis.
Pub.: 23 Jan '14, Pinned: 05 Oct '17
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