Molecular Survey of Zoonotic Agents in Rodents and Other Small Mammals in Croatia

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Feb;94(2):466-73. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0517. Epub 2015 Dec 28.


Croatia is a focus for many rodent-borne zoonosis. Here, we report a survey of 242 rodents and small mammals, including 43 Myodes glareolus, 131 Apodemus flavicollis, 53 Apodemus agrarius, three Apodemus sylvaticus, six Sorex araneus, four Microtus arvalis, one Microtus agrestis, and one Muscardinus avellanarius, collected at eight sites in Croatia over an 8-year period. Multiplex MassTag polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for detection of Borrelia, Rickettsia, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Francisella tularensis, and Coxiella burnetii. Individual PCR assays were used for detection of Leptospira, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, orthopoxviruses, flaviviruses, hantaviruses, and Toxoplasma gondii. Of the rodents, 52 (21.5%) were infected with Leptospira, 9 (3.7%) with Borrelia miyamotoi, 5 (2%) with Borrelia afzelii, 29 (12.0%) with Bartonella, 8 (3.3%) with Babesia microti, 2 (0.8%) with Ehrlichia, 4 (1.7%) with Anaplasma, 2 (0.8%) with F. tularensis, 43 (17.8%) with hantaviruses, and 1 (0.4%) with an orthopoxvirus. Other agents were not detected. Multiple infections were found in 32 rodents (13.2%): dual infections in 26 rodents (10.7%), triple infections in four rodents (2.9%), and quadruple infections in two rodents (0.8%). Our findings indicate that rodents in Croatia harbor a wide range of bacteria and viruses that are pathogenic to humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary*
  • Croatia / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal / epidemiology
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal / parasitology*
  • Rodentia
  • Zoonoses