3 years ago

Babesia divergens Asia lineage is maintained between Ixodes persulcatus and sika deer in Hokkaido, Japan.

Shigeru Morikawa, Ken-Ichi Hanaki, Chiaki Ishihara, Masayoshi Tsuji, Patricia J Holman, Wei Qiang, Aya Zamoto-Niikura
Babesia divergens Asia lineage parasites, which are closely related to B. divergens in Europe and Babesia sp. MO1 in the United States, was recently reported in sika deer (Cervus nippon) in eastern Japan. To identify the tick vector(s) for this parasite, we conducted a field survey in Hokkaido, Japan where the infection rate in sika deer is the highest in the country. A specific PCR system which detects and discriminates between lineages within B. divergens and between those lineages and B. venatorum showed that Ixodes persulcatus (11/845), but not sympatric I. ovatus (0/595) nor Haemaphysalis spp. (0/163) ticks, carried B. divergens Asia lineage. Genomic DNA was archived from salivary glands of partially engorged I. persulcatus females and three isolates of B. divergens Asia lineage were newly described. The 18S rRNA gene sequence of the isolates formed the cluster, Asia lineage, with those previously described in sika deer isolates. One salivary gland also contained B. microti US-lineage, which was subsequently isolated in a hamster in vivo. B. venatorum (Etb5) was also detected in one I. persulcatus tick. The 18S rRNA sequence of Etb5 was 99.7% identical to that of B. venatorum (AY046575) and phylogenetically positioned in a taxon composed of B. venatorum from Europe, China and Russia. The geographical distribution of I. persulcatus is consistent with that of B. divergens in sika deer in Japan. These results suggest I. persulcatus is a principal vector for B. divergens in Japan and Eurasia where I. persulcatus is predominantly distributed.IMPORTANCEBabesia divergens Asia lineage, parasites closely related to B. divergens in Europe and Babesia sp. MO1 in the United States, was recently reported in Cervus nippon in eastern Japan. In this study, specific PCR for the Asia lineage identified 11 positives in 845 host seeking Ixodes persulcatus ticks, a principal vector for many tick-borne disease agents. Gene sequences of three isolates obtained from DNA in salivary glands of female ticks were identical to each other and to those in C. nippon We also demonstrate co-infection of B. divergens Asia lineage with B. microti US lineage in a tick salivary gland and, furthermore, isolated the latter in a hamster. These results suggest I. persulcatus is the principal vector for B. divergens as well as for B. microti, and both parasites may be occasionally co-transmitted by I. persulcatus This report will be important for public health since infection may occur through transfusion.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02491-17

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02491-17

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