Pathogen prevalence in ticks collected from the vegetation and livestock in Nigeria.
- Clinical and Applied Virology
Ticks are important disease vectors that can cause considerable economic losses by affecting animal health and productivity, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. In this study, we investigated the prevalence and diversity of bacterial and protozoan tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from the vegetation and cattle in Nigeria by PCR. The infection rates of questing ticks were 3.1% for Rickettsia species, 0.1% for Coxiella burnetii and 0.4% for Borrelia species. Other pathogens, such as Babesia, Theileria, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia species, were not detected in ticks from the vegetation. Feeding ticks collected from cattle displayed infection rates of 12.5% for Rickettsia species, 14% for Coxiella burnetii, 5.9% for Anaplasma species, 5.1% for Ehrlichia species, and 2.9% for Theileria mutans. Babesia and Borrelia species were not detected in ticks collected from cattle. Mixed infections were found only in feeding ticks and mainly Rickettsia species and Coxiella burnetii were involved. The diversity of tick-borne pathogens in Nigeria was higher in feeding than in questing ticks, suggesting that cattle serve as reservoirs for at least some of the pathogens studied, in particular C. burnetii. The total estimated herd infection rates of 20.6% for a Rickettsia africae-like species, 27% for Coxiella burnetii, and 8.5% for Anaplasma marginale/centrale suggest that these pathogens may have considerable implications for human and animal health.