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Borrelia turcica in Hyalomma aegyptium ticks in Romania

Testudo graeca tortoises are distributed in the south-eastern part (Dobrogea region) of Romania. T. graeca is a potential host for the three-host ticks, Hyalomma aegyptium. H. aegyptium ticks are important from epidemiological point of view as they constitute potential reservoirs for numerous zoonotic bacterial pathogens (Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia ca nis, Coxiella burnetii). However, H. aegyptium was reported to host less studied bacteria, non-Lyme members of genus Borrelia. Despite its relatively wide distribution range, the extent of co-distribution of ticks with these bacteria was not investigated in detail. The aim of the present study was to evaluate H. aegyptium engorged ticks collected from tortoises in south-eastern Romania for the presence of non-Lyme Borrelia. Between 2008 and 2013, 448 H. aegyptium ticks were collected from 45 T graeca tortoises located in Dobrogea region in Romania. DNA extraction was performed individually from each tick using a commercial kit. For the total 78 (17.4%) Borrelia spp. positive ticks, PCR analysis targeting the intergenic spacer 5S-23S region, glpQ, respectively gyrB genes, and further sequencing was performed for the further identification. Sequences of gyrB and glpQ genes showed 99%-100% similarities with reptile-associated Borrelia turcica. The most frequently infected stages were males (10.7% of the total males examined or 61.5% from the total infected ticks) followed by females (5.36% of the total females examined or 31% from the total infected ticks) and nymphs (1.34% of the total nymphs examined or 7.7% from the total infected ticks). This is the first report of Borrelia turcica in Romania.

This research was supported by grant CNCSIS IDEI PCCE 7/2010 and IDEI PCE 236/2011.

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Correspondence to Z Kalmár.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Kalmár, Z., D'Amico, G., Matei, I. et al. Borrelia turcica in Hyalomma aegyptium ticks in Romania. Parasites Vectors 7 (Suppl 1), P6 (2014).

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