First report on Babesia cf. microti infection of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Hungary

Róbert Farkas*, Nóra Takács, Ákos Hornyák, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Sándor Hornok, Gad Baneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number55
JournalParasites and Vectors
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Farkas et al.; licensee BioMed Central.

Keywords

  • Babesia cf. microti
  • Hungary
  • Red fox
  • Theileria annae
  • Vulpes vulpes

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