Prevalence and phylogenetic analysis of Babesia spp. in Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus ticks in Latvia

Valentina Capligina, Inese Berzina, Antra Bormane, Ineta Salmane, Karlis Vilks, Alisa Kazarina, Dace Bandere, Viesturs Baumanis, Renate Ranka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Babesia spp. are tick-borne protozoan parasites that have been reported in many European countries and are considered to be emerging pathogens. Several Babesia spp. have been identified in ticks in Latvia. Recently, canine babesiosis cases were diagnosed for the first time in Latvia; therefore, continued studies on the prevalence and occurrence of new species are warranted. In the present study, questing tick samples collected in 2005–2007 were screened for the presence of Babesia spp.; in total, 432 Ixodes ricinus and 693 Ixodes persulcatus ticks were analyzed. Babesia spp. were detected in 1.4 % of the I. ricinus ticks and in 1.9 % of I. persulcatus ticks. Sequencing revealed that ixodid ticks in Latvia contained Babesia microti, Babesia capreoli, and Babesia venatorum.Babesia microti was the most prevalent species, accounting for 58 % of all positive samples; moreover, two distinct B. microti genotypes were identified. Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length 18S rRNA gene of two B. capreoli/B. divergens isolates indicated a closer relationship to the B. capreoli clade than B. divergens. This is the first report of B. venatorum in I. persulcatus ticks in Latvia. Our results suggest that both I. ricinus and I. persulcatus ticks play important roles in the epidemiology of these zoonotic pathogens in Latvia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-336
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Babesia spp
  • Ixodes persulcatus
  • Ixodes ricinus
  • Latvia
  • Questing ticks

Field of Science*

  • 4.3 Veterinary science
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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