Detection of Bartonella DNA in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and in ticks removed from deer
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The potential role of roe deer as a sylvatic reservoir of Bartonella in north-west Poland has been assessed. In addition, ticks infesting roe deer were screened to assess their role as a vector and reservoir of Bartonella. Blood and tissue samples of 72 animals from north-western Poland were PCR-screened. Bartonella DNA was detected by using primers complementary to the intergenic spacer between the 16S and 23S rRNA genes, which is used for identification of over a dozen species of this genus. Products of three different sizes were detected: 230 and 290 bp, representative of two strains of Bartonella capreoli, and 190 bp, identified as Bartonella bovis. All the three amplicons were detected in the blood, spleen and liver from the roe deer. All samples from the heart, lungs and kidneys were PCR negative. In ticks (Ixodes ricinus), only the 290 bp fragment from B. capreoli was present. Generally, Bartonella infection rate in Capreolus capreolus amounted to 27.6% of the roe deer, but it was much higher during winter (62%) than in spring (6.9%). The results show that the roe deer may be a reservoir for B. capreoli and B. bovis. The infection detected in I. ricinus ticks (7.7%) suggests that ticks may act as a Bartonella reservoir and vector.
KeywordsBartonella Roe deer Ticks PCR Intergenic spacer Tissues colonization
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