Potential role of ticks of the species dermacentor reticulatus and Ixodes ricinus in the circulation of parasitic protozoa: Theileria spp., Babesia spp. and Toxoplasma gondii in the natural environment
More details
Hide details
Zakład Biologicznych Szkodliwości Zdrowotnych i Parazytologii, Instytut Medycyny Wsi im. W. Chodźki w Lublinie
ICAP (Central Asia) at Columbia University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Corresponding author
Angelina Wójcik-Fatla   

Zakład Biologicznych Szkodliwości Zdrowotnych i Parazytologii, Instytut Medycyny Wsi im. W. Chodźki w Lublinie, ul. Jaczewskiego 2, 20-090 Lublin
Med Og Nauk Zdr. 2016;22(3):165-168
Introduction and objective:
Ticks are classified into obligatory eco-parasites of terrestrial vertebrates, including humans. They constitute a reservoir, sometimes a vector of many pathological microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and protozoa) threatening the health of humans and animals. The primary objective of the study was an attempt to evaluate whether ticks of the species Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus, commonly occurring in Poland, may constitute a potential vector and reservoir for the protozoa: Babesia, Theileria, and Toxoplasma gondii, and at the same time, play a role in the circulation of these pathogens in nature.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
The genera Theileria spp., Babesia spp, and as has been found in recent years, Toxoplasma gondii belong to the group of protozoa occurring in ticks. The genera Theileria and Babesia create a great risk, mainly for animals, causing, among others, east coast fever, tropical theileriosis and babesiosis. In the case of Toxoplasma gondii, this protozoan is especially dangerous for pregnant women, and may cause permanent and irreversible foetal defects. Studies to-date confirm the presence of these protozoa in some species of ticks, as well as the possibility of co-occurrence of some of them in one individual tick

Summing up:
From the aspect of public health, studies concerning the potential role of ticks in the transmission of parasitic protozoa may contribute to the assessment of the actual risk of infection in the case of tick bites. The results concerning the role of ticks as an alternative route of transmission of T. gondii – the etiologic factor of toxoplasmosis, would be of a special importance for pregnant women.

Buczek A. Choroby pasożytnicze. Epidemiologia, diagnostyka, objawy. Wyd. II popr. Wydawnictwo Liber, Lublin, 2004.
Kabi F, Masembe C, Muwanika V, Kirunda H, Negrini R. Geographic distribution of non-clinical Theileria parva infection among indigenous cattle populations in contrasting agro-ecological zones of Uganda: implications for control strategies. Parasit Vectors. 2014; 7: 414.
Kazungu YE, Mwega E, Neselle MO, Sallu R, Kimera SI, Gwakisa P. Incremental effect of natural tick challenge on the infection and treatment method-induced immunity against T. parva in cattle under agro-pastoral systems in Northern Tanzania. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2015; 6(5): 587–591.
Skotarczak B (red.). Biologia molekularna patogenów przenoszonych przez kleszcze. Wydawnictwo lekarskie PZWL, Warszawa, 2006.
Hildebrandt A, Hunfeld KP. Human babesiosis – a rare but potentially dangerous zoonosis. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2014; 139(18): 957–962 (in German).
Dubey JP, Beattie CP. Toxoplasmosis of Animals and Man. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1988.
Mans BJ, Pienaar R, Latif AA. A review of Theileria diagnostics and epidemiology. Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2015; 4(1): 104–118.
Githaka N, Konnai S, Bishop R, Odongo D, Lekolool I, Kariuki E, Gakuya F, Kamau L, Isezaki M, Murata S, Ohashi K. Identification and sequence characterization of novel Theileria genotypes from the waterbuck (Kobus defassa) in a Theileria parva-endemic area in Kenya. Vet Parasitol. 2014; 202(3–4): 180–193.
Sawczuk M, Maciejewska A, Adamska M, Skotarczak B. Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) as a reservoir of protozoans from Babesia and Theileria genus in north-western Poland. Wiad Parazytol. 2005; 51(3): 243–247.
Slivinska K, Víchová B, Werszko J, Szewczyk T, Wróblewski Z, Peťko B, Ragač O, Demeshkant V, Karbowiak G. Molecular surveillance of Theileria equi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum infections in horses from Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. Vet Parasitol. 2016; 215: 35–37.
Aydin MF, Aktas M, Dumanli N. Molecular identification of Theileria and Babesia in ticks collected from sheep and goats in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Parasitol Res. 2015; 114(1): 65–69.
Najm NA, Meyer-Kayser E, Hoffmann L, Herb I, Fensterer V, Pfister K, Silaghi C. A molecular survey of Babesia spp. and Theileria spp. in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and their ticks from Thuringia, Germany. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2014; 5(4): 386–391.
Perkins FO, Barta JR, Clopton RE, Peirce MA, Upton SJ. Phylum Apicomplexa Levine, 1970. In: Lee JJ, Leedale GF, Bradbury P (ed.). An Illustrated Guide to the Protozoa, Second Edition, vol. 1. Society of Protozoologists, Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A.; 2000. p 190–369.
Sroka J, Szymanska J, Wojcik-Fatla A. The occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Ixodes ricinus ticks from east Poland with the use of PCR. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2009; 16(2): 313–319.
Wójcik-Fatla A, Sroka J, Zajac V, Sawczyn A, Cisak E, Dutkiewicz J. Toxoplasma gondii (Nicolle et Manceaux, 1908) detected in Dermacentor reticulatus (Fabricius) (Ixodidae). Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2015a; DOI: 10.14411/fp.2015.055.
Sroka J, Chmielewska-Badora J, Dutkiewicz J. Ixodes ricinus as a potential vector of Toxoplasma gondii. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2003; 10(1): 121–123.
Asman M, Solarz K, Cuber P, Gąsior T, Szilman P, Szilman E, Tondaś E, Matzullok A, Kusion N, Florek K. Detection of protozoans Babesia microti and Toxoplasma gondii and their co-existence in ticks (Acari: Ixodida) collected in Tarnogórski district (Upper Silesia, Poland). Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015; 22(1): 80–83.
Hildebrandt A, Gray JS, Hunfeld KP. Human babesiosis in Europe: what clinicians need to know. Infection. 2013; 41(6): 1057–1072.
Katargina O, Geller J, Vasilenko V, Kuznetsova T, Järvekülg L, Vene S, Lundkvist Å, Golovljova I. Detection and characterization of Babesia species in Ixodes ticks in Estonia. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2011; 11(7): 923–8.
Welc-Falęciak R, Hildebrandt A, Siński E. Co-infection with Borrelia species and other tick-borne pathogens in humans: two cases from Poland. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2010; 17(2): 309–313.
Wójcik-Fatla A, Zając V, Sawczyn A, Cisak E, Dutkiewicz J. Babesia spp. in questing ticks from eastern Poland: prevalence and species diversity. Parasitol Res. 2015b; 114(8): 3111–3116.
García-Sanmartín J, Barandika JF, Juste RA, García-Pérez AL, Hurtado A. Distribution and molecular detection of Theileria and Babesia in questing ticks from northern Spain. Med Vet Entomol. 2008; 22(4): 318–325.
Deryło A, Toś-Luty S, Dutkiewicz J, Umiński J. Badania nad udziałem kleszczy Ixodes ricinus L. w biologii i przenoszeniu Toxoplasma gondii. Wiad Parazytol. 1978; 585–595.
Howell JM, Ueti MW, Palmer GH, Scoles GA, Knowles DP. Transovarial transmission efficiency of Babesia bovis tick stages acquired by Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus during acute infection. J Clin Microbiol. 2007; 45(2): 426–431.
Aubry C, Socolovschi C, Raoult D, Parola P. Bacterial agents in 248 ticks removed from people from 2002 to 2013. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2016; 7(3): 475–481.
Asman M, Gąsior T, Jacek E, Cuber P, Solarz K. Isolation of rickettsiae Anaplasma phagocytophilum and protozoans Babesia sp. in castor bean ticks (Ixodes ricinus) collected from patients of public helath centres on the territory of Upper Silesia. In: Buczek A, Błaszak Cz (ed.). Arthropods. The medical and economic importance. Lublin. Akapit, 2012. pp.171–180.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top