Molecular detection of emerging tick-borne pathogens in Vojvodina, Serbia

Aleksandar Potkonjak*, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Sara Savić, Vuk Vračar, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Aleksandar Jurišić, Gabriela Kleinerman, Alicia Rojas, Aleksandra Petrović, Gad Baneth, Shimon Harrus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Ticks play an important role in disease transmission globally due to their capability to serve as vectors for human and animal pathogens. The Republic of Serbia is an endemic area for a large number of tick-borne diseases. However, current knowledge on these diseases in Serbia is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of new emerging tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from dogs and the vegetation from different parts of Vojvodina, Serbia.A total of 187 ticks, including 124 Rhipicephalus sanguineus, 45 Ixodes ricinus and 18 Dermacentor reticulatus were collected from dogs. In addition, 26 questing I. ricinus ticks were collected from the vegetation, using the flagging method, from 4 different localities in Vojvodina, Serbia. DNA was extracted from each tick individually and samples were tested by either conventional or real-time PCR assays for the presence of Rickettsia spp.-DNA (gltA and ompA gene fragments), Ehrlichia/. Anaplasma spp.-DNA (16S rRNA gene fragment) and Hepatozoon spp./. Babesia spp.-DNA (18S rRNA gene fragment). In addition, all I. ricinus DNA samples were tested for Bartonella spp.-DNA (ITS locus) by real-time PCR.In this study, the presence of novel emerging tick-borne pathogens including Rickettsia raoultii, Rickettsia massiliae, Babesia venatorum, Babesia microti, Hepatozoon canis and Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis was identified for the first time in Serbia. Our findings also confirmed the presence of Rickettsia monacensis, Babesia canis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in ticks from Serbia.The findings of the current study highlight the great diversity of tick-borne pathogens of human and animal importance in Serbia. Physicians, public health workers and veterinarians should increase alertness to the presence of these tick-borne pathogens in this country.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)199-203
Number of pages5
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier GmbH.


  • Anaplasma
  • Babesia
  • Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis
  • Hepatozoon
  • Rickettsia
  • Ticks


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