Investigation of tick-borne bacteria (Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp. and Borrelia spp.) in ticks collected from Andean tapirs, cattle and vegetation from a protected area in Ecuador

Parasit Vectors. 2015 Jan 24:8:46. doi: 10.1186/s13071-015-0662-3.


Background: Ixodid ticks play an important role in the transmission and ecology of infectious diseases. Information about the circulation of tick-borne bacteria in ticks is lacking in Ecuador. Our aims were to investigate the tick species that parasitize Andean tapirs and cattle, and those present in the vegetation from the buffer zone of the Antisana Ecological Reserve and Cayambe-Coca National Park (Ecuador), and to investigate the presence of tick-borne bacteria.

Methods: Tick species were identified based on morphologic and genetic criteria. Detection of tick-borne bacteria belonging to Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Borrelia genera was performed by PCRs.

Results: Our ticks included 91 Amblyomma multipunctum, 4 Amblyomma spp., 60 Rhipicephalus microplus, 5 Ixodes spp. and 1 Ixodes boliviensis. A potential Candidatus Rickettsia species closest to Rickettsia monacensis and Rickettsia tamurae (designated Rickettsia sp. 12G1) was detected in 3 R. microplus (3/57, 5.3%). In addition, Anaplasma spp., assigned at least to Anaplasma phagocytophilum (or closely related genotypes) and Anaplasma marginale, were found in 2 A. multipunctum (2/87, 2.3%) and 13 R. microplus (13/57, 22.8%).

Conclusions: This is the first description of Rickettsia sp. in ticks from Ecuador, and the analyses of sequences suggest the presence of a potential novel Rickettsia species. Ecuadorian ticks from Andear tapirs, cattle and vegetation belonging to Amblyomma and Rhipicephalus genera were infected with Anaplasmataceae. Ehrlichia spp. and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato were not found in any ticks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasma / genetics
  • Anaplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / transmission
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary
  • Base Sequence
  • Borrelia / genetics
  • Borrelia / isolation & purification*
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology
  • Cattle Diseases / transmission
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Ecuador / epidemiology
  • Ehrlichia / genetics
  • Ehrlichia / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Ixodes / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Perissodactyla
  • Rickettsia / genetics
  • Rickettsia / isolation & purification*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / veterinary
  • Tick Infestations / parasitology
  • Tick Infestations / veterinary


  • DNA, Bacterial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KF831358
  • GENBANK/KF831359
  • GENBANK/KF831360
  • GENBANK/KF831361
  • GENBANK/KF831362
  • GENBANK/KM077433
  • GENBANK/KM077434
  • GENBANK/KM077435
  • GENBANK/KM077436
  • GENBANK/KM077437
  • GENBANK/KM077438