Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia Species of Sympatric Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), Fallow Deer (Dama dama), Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in Germany

Silaghi, Cornelia Hildegard Anita GND; Fröhlich, Julia; Reindl, Hubert; Hamel, Dietmar; Rehbein, Steffen

(1) Background: Wild cervids play an important role in transmission cycles of tick-borne pathogens; however, investigations of tick-borne pathogens in sika deer in Germany are lacking. (2) Methods: Spleen tissue of 74 sympatric wild cervids (30 roe deer, 7 fallow deer, 22 sika deer, 15 red deer) and of 27 red deer from a farm from southeastern Germany were analyzed by molecular methods for the presence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia species. (3) Results: Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia DNA was demonstrated in 90.5% and 47.3% of the 74 combined wild cervids and 14.8% and 18.5% of the farmed deer, respectively. Twelve 16S rRNA variants of A. phagocytophilum were delineated. While the infection rate for A. phagocytophilum among the four cervid species was similar (71.4% to 100%), it varied significantly for Babesia between roe deer (73.3%), fallow deer (14.3%), sika deer (27.3%) and red deer (40.0%). Deer ≤2 years of age tested significantly more often positive than the older deer for both A. phagocytophilum and Babesia species. (4) Conclusions: This study confirms the widespread occurrence of A. phagocytophilum and Babesia species in wild cervids and farmed red deer in Germany and documents the co-occurrence of the two tick-borne pathogens in free-ranging sika deer.

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Silaghi, Cornelia / Fröhlich, Julia / Reindl, Hubert / et al: Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia Species of Sympatric Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), Fallow Deer (Dama dama), Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in Germany. 2020.

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