Swiss Army survey in Switzerland to determine the prevalence of Francisella tularensis, members of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks

R. Wicki, P. Sauter, C. Mettler, A. Natsch, T. Enzler, Nicola Pusterla, P. Kuhnert, G. Egli, M. Bernasconi, R. Lienhard, H. Lutz, C. M. Leutenegger

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Abstract

A total of 6071 Ixodes ricinus ticks were collected on Swiss Army training grounds in five regions of Switzerland. The aim of the survey was to assess the prevalence of ticks infected with the human pathogens Francisella tularensis, members of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and the European tick-borne encephalitis virus. TaqMan PCR (PE Biosystems, USA) and TaqMan RT-PCR (PE Biosystems) analyses were performed on DNA and RNA extracted from pools of ten ticks grouped by gender. Here, for the first time, it is shown that ticks may harbor Francisella tularensis in Switzerland, at a rate of 0.12%. Furthermore, 26.54% of the ticks investigated harbored Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, 1.18% harbored members of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup, and 0.32% harbored the European tick-borne encephalitis virus. A new instrumentation was applied in this study to carry out and analyze more than 2300 PCR reactions in only 5 days. Furthermore, the results reveal that people working in outdoor areas, including army personnel on certain training grounds contaminated with ticks containing tick-borne pathogens, are at risk for different tick-borne diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-432
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Volume19
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology

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