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Molecular investigation of the occurrence of Coxiella burnetii in wildlife and ticks in an endemic area

Astobiza, I., Barral, M., Ruiz-Fons, F., Barandika, J.F., Gerrikagoitia, X., Hurtado, A., García-Pérez, A.L.
Veterinary microbiology 2011 v.147 no.1-2 pp. 190-194
Capreolus capreolus, Coxiella burnetii, DNA, Lepus, Q fever, Sus scrofa, adults, carnivores, hares, polymerase chain reaction, ticks, wild birds, wild boars, wildlife, Spain
At present few studies have been carried out on the distribution and incidence of Coxiella burnetii infection in wildlife. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the distribution of C. burnetii in the main wild species in the Basque Country (Northern Spain), such as carnivores, cervids, wild boar, lagomorphs and several species of birds. Tissues from a total of 601 animals and 340 adult ticks collected from them were analyzed by PCR. DNA of C. burnetii was detected in 5.1% of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), 4.3% of wild boar (Sus scrofa), 9.1% of European hare (Lepus europaeus), and among wild birds, in 11% of vultures (Gyps fulvus) and 14% of black kites (Milvus migrans). These results showed that C. burnetii circulates in wildlife in Spain participating in the cycle of Q fever in nature. All of the adult ticks analyzed were negative for C. burnetii, suggesting that ticks do not play an important role in the transmission of C. burnetii in this area.