Investigation on haplotypes of ixodid ticks and retrospective finding of Borrelia miyamotoi in bank vole (Myodes glareolus) in Switzerland

Hornok, Sándor and Daccord, Julie and Takács, Nóra and Kontschán, Jenő and Tuska-Szalay, Barbara and Sándor, Attila and Szekeres, Sándor (2022) Investigation on haplotypes of ixodid ticks and retrospective finding of Borrelia miyamotoi in bank vole (Myodes glareolus) in Switzerland. TICKS AND TICK-BORNE DISEASES, 13 (1). ISSN 1877-959X

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


The current status of tick species, important tick-borne bacteria and protozoan parasites is well-documented in Switzerland. However, reports on the genetic diversity and geographical relationships of tick species in this country appear to be in part lacking or outdated. Thus, the aim of this study was to collect ticks from various host species in southern Switzerland, to compare them in a geographical context and to screen in these samples rare tick-borne pathogens hitherto not reported or having low prevalence in Switzerland. In 2019–2020 altogether 177 ixodid ticks were collected from the vegetation, as well as from humans (n = 17), dogs (n = 23), cats (n = 41), red deer (n = 8), a European rabbit and a European hedgehog at 25 locations in three cantons of south Switzerland. Tick species were identified morphologically, followed by DNA extraction and comparison of mitochondrial haplotypes with molecular-phylogenetic methods. Tick DNA extracts, as well as sixty-two rodent liver or spleen tissue DNA extracts (representing six species) available from 2005 to 2006 were screened for trypanosomes, Occidentia massiliensis and Borrelia miyamotoi. Morphologically, three tick species were identified: Ixodes ricinus (n = 170), Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (n = 6) and I. hexagonus (n = 1). In contrast to companion animals (dogs, cats) immature ticks (larvae and nymphs) predominated on humans, which was a highly significant association (P < 0.0001). Molecular comparison of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1) gene with GenBank data established the species as R. sanguineus sensu stricto and confirmed I. hexagonus, both showing 99.8–100% sequence identity to conspecific ticks from northern Italy. Seventy-nine specimens morphologically identified as I. ricinus revealed high 16S rRNA gene haplotype diversity and represented two phylogenetic groups. Two I. ricinus haplotypes from Switzerland belonged to the same haplogroup with I. inopinatus from Spain, Germany and Austria as well as with I. ricinus reported from a broad geographical range of Europe (including Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia and Sweden). All 141 tick DNA extracts (from five R. sanguineus s.l., 135 I. ricinus and one I. hexagonus) and 62 rodent tissue DNA extracts were negative for trypanosomes and O. massiliensis. However, B. miyamotoi was identified in a bank vole (Myodes glareolus) and three ticks by sequencing. From Switzerland, this is the first report of tick haplotypes that are phylogenetically closely related to I. inopinatus. However, based on their morphology, both specimens are considered as I. ricinus. These results highlight the importance that the identification of I. inopinatus should be based on coherent morphologic and molecular properties. This is also the first report of rodent-borne B. miyamotoi in Switzerland. Taking into account the year of collection (2005), in a chronological order this might be the first indication of B. miyamotoi in any rodent species in Europe.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QL Zoology / állattan
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 13:36
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 13:36

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item