Parasitology Research

, Volume 107, Issue 6, pp 1515–1520 | Cite as

Tortoise tick Hyalomma aegyptium as long term carrier of Q fever agent Coxiella burnetii—evidence from experimental infection

  • Pavel Široký
  • Michaela Kubelová
  • David Modrý
  • Jan Erhart
  • Ivan Literák
  • Eva Špitalská
  • Elena Kocianová
Short Communication


The experimental study investigated the ability of tortoise tick Hyalomma aegyptium to play a role in forming and maintaining natural foci of Q fever. We tested the competence of H. aegyptium larvae to acquire Coxiella burnetii infection from mammals, serve as a C. burnetii vector between mammalian hosts, and be a long-term carrier of C. burnetii, including interstadial transmission. H. aegyptium larvae were allowed to feed on guinea pigs experimentally infected with C. burnetii. Engorged larvae molted to nymphs, some of which were preserved in 96% ethanol and later examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using C. burnetii-specific primers (CBCOS, CBCOE). Prevalence of C. burnetii among these nymphs was 5.6% (n = 235). Remaining nymphs then fed on other, C. burnetii-negative guinea pigs; and according to results of both, micro-agglutination reaction, and ELISA, they successfully transmitted C. burnetii to those new hosts. Detached engorged nymphs molted to adults, which were kept alive long term and then placed in 96% ethanol 383 days post-infection. Thereafter, they were examined by PCR in the same manner as were the nymphs. Prevalence of C. burnetii among adult H. aegyptium was 28.9% (n = 90). According to our results, tortoise-specific ticks have indisputable potential in the epidemiology of Q fever natural foci.


Slovak Academy Tick Species Adult Tick Natural Focus Coxiella Burnetii 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by grant IGA VFU, project 41/2007/FVHE, by grant MSM6215712402 from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports of the Czech Republic, and from grant No. 2/0065 from the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education and the Slovak Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pavel Široký
    • 1
  • Michaela Kubelová
    • 1
  • David Modrý
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jan Erhart
    • 3
  • Ivan Literák
    • 1
  • Eva Špitalská
    • 4
  • Elena Kocianová
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and EcologyUniversity of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Institute of Parasitology, Biology CenterAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  4. 4.Institute of VirologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia

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