Prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Rickettsia spp. and Babesia spp. in cattle serum and questing ticks from Belgium - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases Year : 2023

Prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Rickettsia spp. and Babesia spp. in cattle serum and questing ticks from Belgium

Abstract

Background Anaplasmosis, borreliosis, rickettsiosis and babesiosis are tick-borne diseases of medical, veterinary and economic importance. In Belgium, little is known on the prevalence of these diseases in animals and previous screenings relate only to targeted geographic regions, clinical cases or a limited number of tested samples. We therefore performed the first nationwide seroprevalence study of Anaplasma spp., A. phagocytophilum, Borrelia spp., Rickettsia spp. and Babesia spp. in Belgian cattle. We also screened questing ticks for the aforementioned pathogens. Methods ELISAs and IFATs were performed on a representative sample set of cattle sera stratified proportionally to the number of cattle herds per province. Questing ticks were collected in areas where the highest prevalence for the forenamed pathogens in cattle serum were observed. Ticks were analyzed by quantitative PCR for A. phagocytophilum (n = 783), B. burgdorferi sensu lato (n = 783) and Rickettsia spp. (n = 715) and by PCR for Babesia spp. (n = 358). Results The ELISA screening for antibodies to Anaplasma spp. and Borrelia spp. in cattle sera showed an overall seroprevalence of 15.6% (53/339) and 12.9% (52/402), respectively. The IFAT screening for antibodies against A. phagocytophilum, Rickettsia spp. and Babesia spp. resulted in an overall seroprevalence of 34.2% (116/339), 31.2% (99/317) and 3.4% (14/412), respectively. At the provincial level, the provinces of Liege and Walloon Brabant harboured the highest seroprevalence of Anaplasma spp. (44.4% and 42.7% respectively) and A. phagocytophilum (55.6% and 71.4%). East Flanders and Luxembourg exhibited the highest seroprevalence of Borrelia spp. (32.4%) and Rickettsia spp. (54.8%) respectively. The province of Antwerp showed the highest seroprevalence of Babesia spp. (11%). The screening of field-collected ticks resulted in a prevalence of 13.8% for B. burgdorferi s.l., with B. afzelii and B. garinii being the most common genospecies (65.7% and 17.1%, respectively). Rickettsia spp. was detected in 7.1% of the tested ticks and the only identified species was R. helvetica. A low prevalence was found for A. phagocytophilum (0.5%) and no Babesia positive tick was detected. Conclusions The seroprevalence data in cattle indicate hot spots for tick-borne pathogens in specific provinces and highlights the importance of veterinary surveillance in anticipating the emergence of diseases among humans. The detection of all pathogens, with the exception of Babesia spp. in questing ticks, underlines the need of raising awareness among public and professionals on other tick-borne diseases along with lyme borreliosis.

Dates and versions

hal-04074892 , version 1 (19-04-2023)

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Nadjah Radia Adjadj, Mickaël Cargnel, Stefaan Ribbens, Christian Quinet, Laurence Malandrin, et al.. Prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Rickettsia spp. and Babesia spp. in cattle serum and questing ticks from Belgium. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 2023, 14 (4), pp.102146. ⟨10.1016/j.ttbdis.2023.102146⟩. ⟨hal-04074892⟩
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