Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 5, pp 2011–2016 | Cite as

Ticks and tick-borne pathogens in wild birds in Greece

  • Anastasia Diakou
  • Ana Cláudia Norte
  • Isabel Lopes de Carvalho
  • Sofia Núncio
  • Markéta Nováková
  • Matej Kautman
  • Haralambos Alivizatos
  • Savas Kazantzidis
  • Oldřich Sychra
  • Ivan Literák
Original Paper


Wild birds are common hosts of ticks and can transport them for long distances, contributing to the spreading of tick-borne pathogens. The information about ticks on birds and tick-borne pathogens in Greece is limited. The present study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and species of ticks infesting wild resident birds (mostly small passerines) in Greece, and to assess Borrelia and Rickettsia infection in the collected ticks. Detection of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. was performed by nested PCR targeting the flaB gene. Rickettsia spp. were detected by PCR targeting the gltA and ompA genes. Seven (2 %) out of 403 birds examined in northern Greece in 2013 were infested with 15 ticks, identified as Ixodes frontalis, Ixodes acuminatus, Hyalomma marginatum, Hyalomma aegyptium and Hyalomma sp. All ticks were negative for Borrelia spp. while four of them were positive for rickettsiae (Rickettsia aeschlimannii in H. aegyptium and Rickettsia sp. in I. frontalis, H. aegyptium and H. marginatum). Ixodes acuminatus is reported for the first time in Greece and Sylvia borin is reported as a new host record for I. acuminatus.


Ticks Tick-borne pathogens Borrelia Rickettsia Birds Greece 



The authors would like to express their acknowledgments to the personnel of Koronia-Volvi Lakes Management Authority, Axios–Loudias–Aliakmonas Management Authority, and especially to Ms. Lila Karta, for their valuable help in the field work. Also, many thanks to G. Vlachaki, E. Shogolev and S. Shogolev for their help with the catching of birds. Markéta Nováková and Ivan Literák were supported by the project CEITEC (Central European Institute of Technology) (CZ.1.05/1.1.00/02.0068) from the European Regional Development Fund.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anastasia Diakou
    • 1
  • Ana Cláudia Norte
    • 2
    • 3
  • Isabel Lopes de Carvalho
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sofia Núncio
    • 3
  • Markéta Nováková
    • 5
    • 6
  • Matej Kautman
    • 5
  • Haralambos Alivizatos
    • 7
  • Savas Kazantzidis
    • 8
  • Oldřich Sychra
    • 5
  • Ivan Literák
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratory of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Life Sciences Largo Marquês de Pombal, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Centre for Vector and Infectious Diseases ResearchNational Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo JorgeAguas de MouraPortugal
  4. 4.Emergence Response and Biopreparadness UnitNational Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo JorgeLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and EcologyUniversity of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.CEITEC VFUUniversity of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  7. 7.Hellenic Bird Ringing CenterAthensGreece
  8. 8.Hellenic Agricultural Organisation “Demeter”Forest Research InstituteThessalonikiGreece

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