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Extensive examination of different tick species for infestation with Coxiella burnetii in Slovakia

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Between 1987–1989 almost 7000 adult Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor reticulatus, Dermacentor marginatus, Haemaphysalis concinna, Haemaphysalis punctata and Haemaphysalis inermis ticks collected in all 38 districts of Slovakia were screened for the presence of Coxiella burnetii. The proportion of ticks containing C. burnetii as indicated by the haemocyte test was less than 3%. Attempts to recover C. burnetii by inoculation of yolk sacs of embryonated hen eggs from pools of 1–6 specimens of haemocyte test positive ticks resulted in the isolation of 10 rickettsial strains. Six strains were recovered from I. ricinus, the remaining ones from single pools of D. reticulatus, D. marginatus. H. concinna and H. inermis ticks.

In addition to the previous recovery of C. burnetii from H. punctata ticks, the agent was thus isolated from all important ticks living in Slovakia. The agent was found in tick habitats regardless of the latitude and altitude in the entire country. These results are not consistent with the negligible number of Q fever cases occurring in past years in Slovakia.

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Řeháček, J., Úrvölgyi, J., Kocianová, E. et al. Extensive examination of different tick species for infestation with Coxiella burnetii in Slovakia. Eur J Epidemiol 7, 299–303 (1991).

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