Badgers (Meles meles) as reservoirs of vector-borne infections in the UK

Gbobaniyi, A 2018, Badgers (Meles meles) as reservoirs of vector-borne infections in the UK , MRes thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

In recent years, there has been an increased incidence and changing distribution of a number of vector-borne diseases, and the temperate regions are not an exception. Whilst Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) are known to host a wide range of pathogens, information on haemoparasites of badgers, their role as reservoirs of vector-borne infections, and whether ticks parasitizing these badgers pose any risk to animal or human health is limited. Whole badger blood samples collected at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire, Southwest England and from around Northeast England, and ticks parasitizing these badgers, were analysed with a battery of assays targeting the DNA of Babesia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia, Borrelia and Trypanosoma spp. While badgers were found to be heavily infected with Babesia spp. (98.9% of blood samples from Gloucestershire and 100% from NE England), no A. phagocytophilum or Rickettsia spp. were detected. Whereas rates of infections with Trypanosoma spp. in badgers from Gloucestershire have been previously determined in another study, no Trypanosomes were found in badgers from Northeast England. As for ticks, the DNA of Babesia spp., A. phagocytophilum, Rickettsia helvetica, Borrelia garinii, Borrelia valaisiana, and Borrelia afzelii were detected in questing ticks at Woodchester Park; only Babesia spp. were found in ticks removed from badgers in NE England. All Babesiae found in badgers were identical to each other and to those found in I. canisuga from NE England and questing I. ricinus from Gloucestershire, and closely related to Babesia annae (Babesia vulpes) associated with foxes. Furthermore, there was an evidence of chronic Babesia infections among badgers, and possibly of vertical transmission. Phylogenetic trees based on the analysis of two genetic markers, namely the 18S rRNA and B-tubulin genes, demonstrate the relatedness of Babesia spp. detected in this study to other known species of Babesia.

Item Type: Thesis (MRes)
Contributors: Brown, K (Supervisor) and Birtles, RJ (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Andrea Gbobaniyi
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2018 11:49
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2019 01:38
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/48660

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