Friday, 27 November 2015

New, presumably tick-borne bacterium discovered in an Austrian fox

Date: November 27, 2015
Source: Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

Ticks can transmit various diseases to people and animals. Some well-known diseases spread by ticks include tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme disease. Researchers at the Vetmeduni Vienna are hot on the trail of pathogens carried by ticks. The parasitologists recently discovered a new form of the bacterium Candidatus Neoehrlichia in a red fox from the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. The pathogen might also be transmittable to humans. The results were published in the journal Parasites & Vectors.

Adnan Hodžić from the Institute of Parasitology at the Vetmeduni Vienna is searching for pathogens transmitted by ticks. He is especially interested in wild carnivores (foxes and wolves) which could be a possible reservoir and source of infection for humans and other animals.

One special pathogen, first discovered in 1999 in Ixodes ricinus ticks, is the bacterium Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (CNM). The first case of CNM causing illness in a person was identified in the year 2010 in Sweden. Since then, the bacterium has been found several times in humans as well as in animals such as dogs, hedgehogs, shrews, bears, badgers, chamois and mouflons. In people, an infection with CNM bacteria causes fever, muscle and joint pain, and a higher risk for thrombosis and embolisms. Older and immunocompromised people are especially at risk.

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