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Prevalence and diversity of human pathogenic rickettsiae in urban versus rural habitats, Hungary

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Tick-borne rickettsioses belong to the important emerging infectious diseases worldwide. We investigated the potential human exposure to rickettsiae by determining their presence in questing ticks collected in an urban park of Budapest and a popular hunting and recreational forest area in southern Hungary. Differences were found in the infectious risk between the two habitats. Rickettsia monacensis and Rickettsia helvetica were identified with sequencing in questing Ixodes ricinus, the only ticks species collected in the city park. Female I. ricinus had a particularly high prevalence of R. helvetica (45 %). Tick community was more diverse in the rural habitat with Dermacentor reticulatus ticks having especially high percentage (58 %) of Rickettsia raoultii infection. We conclude that despite the distinct eco-epidemiological traits, the risk (hazard and exposure) of acquiring human pathogenic rickettsial infections in both the urban and the rural study sites exists.

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We are grateful to the Gemenc Forest and Game Co. Ltd. who supported our work in the area. This study was partially supported by European Union grant FP7-261504 EDENext and was catalogued by the EDENext Steering Committee ( as EDENext437. G. F. was supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and an NKB and Research Faculty grants from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University. S. Sz. and H. S. were supported by EurNegVec Cost Action TD1303. S. Sz. was supported by the city Council of Hajdúböszörmény, the Campus Hungary Scholarship and TÁMOP-4.2.2.B-10/1-2010-0011.

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Correspondence to Gábor Földvári.

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Szekeres, S., Docters van Leeuwen, A., Rigó, K. et al. Prevalence and diversity of human pathogenic rickettsiae in urban versus rural habitats, Hungary. Exp Appl Acarol 68, 223–226 (2016).

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