Prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from migratory birds in Latvia

Valentina Capligina, Ineta Salmane, Oskars Keišs, Karlis Vilks, Kristine Japina, Viesturs Baumanis, Renate Ranka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Migratory birds act as hosts and long-distance vectors for several tick-borne infectious agents. Here, feeding Ixodes ticks were collected from migratory birds during the autumn migration period in Latvia and screened for the presence of epidemiologically important non-viral pathogens. A total of 93 DNA samples of ticks (37 larvae and 56 nymphs) removed from 41 birds (order Passeriformes, 9 species) was tested for Lyme borreliosis spirochaetes, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia spp., and Babesia spp. Borrelia burgdorferi DNA was detected in 18% of the tick samples, and a majority of infected ticks were from thrush (. Turdus spp.) birds. Among the infected ticks, Borrelia valaisiana was detected in 41% of cases, Borrelia garinii in 35%, and mixed Bo. valaisiana and Bo. garinii infection in 24%. Anaplasma phagocytophilum DNA was detected in 2% of ticks, R. helvetica in 12%, and Babesia spp. pathogens in 4% of ticks. Among these samples, 3 Babesia species were identified: Ba. divergens, Ba. microti, and Ba. venatorum. Coinfection with different pathogens that included mixed infections with different Borrelia genospecies was found in 20% of nymphal and 3% of larval Ixodes ticks. These results suggest that migratory birds may support the circulation and spread of medically significant zoonoses in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Birds
  • Ixodes ticks
  • Latvia
  • Tick-borne pathogens

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.3 Health sciences
  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from migratory birds in Latvia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this