Tick-borne zoonotic bacteria in ticks collected from central Spain

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Jul;81(1):67-74.


The prevalence of tick-borne and related bacteria infecting adult ticks in central Spain was assessed by molecular methods. Six areas were sampled monthly during a 2-year longitudinal study. A total of 1,038 questing and 442 feeding ticks, belonging to eight different species, were tested. The most abundant species were Hyalomma lusitanicum (54% of captures), followed by Dermacentor marginatus (23%) and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (10%). Four human pathogens, including seven Rickettsia species, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Francisella tularensis, were detected at percentages of 19.0, 2.2, 1.7, and 0.5, respectively, whereas Bartonella spp. was never detected. In terms of infection and tick abundance, H. lusitanicum seems to be the most significant tick species in the area, carrying three of the five agents tested, and the anthropophilic tick, D. marginatum, infected with Rickettsia spp. and F. tularensis, is the most relevant in terms of public health. The significance of these data is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum / isolation & purification
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bartonella / isolation & purification
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / isolation & purification
  • Francisella tularensis / isolation & purification
  • Rickettsia / isolation & purification
  • Spain
  • Ticks / microbiology*
  • Zoonoses / microbiology*