Babesia species occurring in austrian ixodes ricinus ticks

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Babesiosis is a tick-transmitted disease of veterinary and medical importance. The first Austrian case of human babesiosis was recently recorded. In the current study, ticks at all life cycle stages (instars), including 853 Ixodes ricinus and 11 Haemaphysalis concinna ticks, from sampling sites throughout Austria were examined for the presence of Babesia spp. by using 18S rRNA gene PCR and sequencing, and the overall mean infection rate was 51.04%. The infection rates for sampling sites were highly variable, ranging from 0% to almost 100%. Different instars and different sexes were infected almost equally. Babesia isolates occurring in Austrian ticks were identified as Babesia divergens, Babesia divergens-like, and Babesia sp. strain DD by sequencing a fragment of the heat shock protein 70 gene and internal transcribed spacer regions 1 and 2. To our knowledge, this is the first investigation of Babesia spp. in Austrian ticks.

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