Screening for rickettsia, coxiella and borrelia species in ticks from Queensland, Australia

Hussain-Yusuf, Hazizul, Stenos, John, Vincent, Gemma, Shima, Amy, Abell, Sandra, Preece, Noel D., Tadepalli, Mythili, Hii, Sze Fui, Bowie, Naomi, Mitram, Kate, and Graves, Stephen (2020) Screening for rickettsia, coxiella and borrelia species in ticks from Queensland, Australia. Pathogens, 9 (12). 1016.

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Tick bites in Australia are linked to the transmission of a variety of infectious diseases in humans, livestock and wildlife. Despite this recognition, little is currently known about the variety of potential pathogens that are carried and transmitted by Australian ticks. In this study, we attempted to expand knowledge of Australian tick-borne bacterial pathogens by analyzing various tick species from the state of Queensland for potential human pathogens belonging to the Rickettsia, Coxiella and Borrelia genera. A total of 203 ticks, comprising of four genera and nine different tick species, were screened by specific qPCR assays. An overall Rickettsia qPCR positivity of 6.4% (13/203) was detected with rickettsial DNA found in four tick species (Ixodes holocyclus, I. tasmani, Amblyommatriguttatum, and Haemaphysalis longicornis). Amplification and analysis of several rickettsial genes from rickettsial qPCR positive samples identified sequences closely related to but genetically distinct from several previously described cultured and uncultured rickettsial species in the Rickettsia spotted fever subgroup. No ticks were positive for either Coxiella or Borrelia DNA. This work suggests that a further diversity of rickettsiae remain to be described in Australian ticks with the full importance of these bacteria to human and animal health yet to be elucidated.

Item ID: 66608
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-0817
Keywords: Amblyomma, Haemaphysalis, Ixodes, Lyme disease, Molecular detection, PCR, Rhipicephalus
Copyright Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Funders: Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory
Date Deposited: 27 May 2021 01:17
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310799 Microbiology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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