Background: To date, only one report of a small Babesia infection based on microscopic observation which caused babesiosis in two dogs in Hungary has been published. Babesiosis due to Babesia canis - which is endemic in the local dogs - has only been detected in captive grey wolves. No information is available on babesial/theilerial infections in red foxes in Hungary. The aim of the study was to screen red foxes in Hungary for babesial parasites by PCR and to compare their partial 18S rRNA gene sequences to those parasites of domestic dogs and wild canids from other countries. Methods: Blood samples of 404 red foxes originating from 316 locations representing all 19 Hungarian counties were screened in Hungary for babesial parasites by PCR and the partial 18S rRNA gene sequences were compared to those parasites of domestic dogs and wild canids from other countries. Results: Altogether 81 red foxes out of 404 (20.0%; 95% CI: 16.4-24.2%) shot in 74 locations and in 17 of the 19 Hungarian counties were found to be infected with Babesia cf. microti by PCR. Conclusions: This is the first report to demonstrate the occurrence of Babesia cf. microti in Hungary, and its widespread presence in the fox population throughout the country. Further studies are needed to identify the tick species involved in its transmission, and whether other mechanisms of transmission are involved in its spread in fox populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to Mónika Gyurkovszky (Faculty of Veterinary Science, Budapest) for helping in laboratory work and Norbert Solymosi for preparing the map of Figure 1. This study was partially funded by the European Union grant FP7-261504 EDENext and is catalogued by the EDENext Steering Committee as EDENext293 (www.edenext.eu). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. The authors thank the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action TD1303 EURNEGVEC.
© 2015 Farkas et al.; licensee BioMed Central.
- Babesia cf. microti
- Red fox
- Theileria annae
- Vulpes vulpes