Korobitsyn et al.
Detection of tick-borne pathogens in wild birds and their ticks in Western Siberia and high level of their mismatch
Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2021; 68:2021.024. doi: 10.14411/fp.2021.024.

Numerous studies have shown that wild birds play an important role in spreading parasites and pathogens. However, only a few reports are available about the detection of TBE virus in ticks collected from birds.

A Russian team has analyzed the prevalence of TBE virus and seven other pathogens in ticks collected from birds captured in the region of Tomsk, Siberia from 2006 to 2011. In total, 736 wild birds were analyzed for ticks and a total of 804 larva, nymphs and adults of the genus Ixodes were collected from the birds. A total of 60 species of wild birds were examined for tick-borne pathogens and 43 species (71.7%) were carriers of some pathogens.

TBE virus (RNA or antigen of both) could be detected in I. persulcatus and I. pavlovskyi ticks.  These two tick species have been found in the same habitats and I. pavlovskyi is also known as an ornithophilic tick. 37.7% of sedentary birds and 35.8% of migrant birds were infected with TBE virus. Of these birds, some overwinter in Europe – e.g., the fieldfare, the bramling, the redwing and the common woodcock – and may import TBE virus. Birds are often attacked by ticks, primarily those of the family Turdidae, and play an important role in maintaining the foci of natural infections. In the region of Tomsk, great tits ranked the topmost in terms of the level of infection with TBE virus (and West Nile virus) and were also carriers of Rickettsia spp.

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