Rickettsia spp. are human pathogens that cause a number of diseases and are transmitted by arthropods, such as ixodid ticks. Estonia is one of few regions where the distribution area of two medically important tick species, Ixodes persulcatus and I. ricinus, overlaps. The nidicolous rodent-associated Ixodestrianguliceps has also recently been shown to be present in Estonia. Although no data are available on human disease(s) caused by tick-borne Rickettsia spp. in Estonia, the presence of three Rickettsia species in non-nidicolous ticks has been previously reported. The aim of this study was to detect, identify and partially characterize Rickettsia species in nidicolous and non-nidicolous ticks attached to rodents in Estonia.
Larvae and nymphs of I.ricinus (n = 1004), I. persulcatus (n = 75) and I.trianguliceps (n = 117), all removed from rodents and shrews caught in different parts of Estonia, were studied for the presence of Rickettsia spp. by nested PCR. Ticks were collected from 314 small animals of five species [Myodes glareolus (bank voles), Apodemus flavicollis (yellow necked mice), A.agrarius (striped field mice), Microtus subterranius (pine voles) and Sorex araneus (common shrews)]. Rickettsial DNA was detected in 8.7% (103/1186) of the studied ticks. In addition to identifying R.helvetica, which had been previously found in questing ticks, we report here the first time that the recently described I.trianguliceps-associated Candidatus Rickettsia uralica has been identified west of the Ural Mountains.
AbstractThe fast development of molecular taxonomy is impacting our knowledge of the world parasite diversity at an unprecedented level. A number of operational taxonomic units have been uncovered and new species described. However, it is not always that new parasite species are being described in compliance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. This is the case of “Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis”, a nematode found in dogs, jackals and humans in Hong Kong and parts of India. This name has been proposed without a formal description and without the designation of a holotype, and therefore is an unavailable name. Finally, we argue that using the provisional status Candidatus in zoological nomenclature is inappropriate, considering this term is not considered in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.