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Acta Tropica
Vol. 172, 2017, Pages: 197-200

Molecular detection of tick-borne pathogens in wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Central Italy

Valentina Virginia Ebani, Guido Rocchigiani, Simona Nardoni, Fabrizio Bertelloni, Violetta Vasta, Roberto Amerigo Papini, Ranieri Verin, Alessandro Poli, Francesca Mancianti

Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy.


Spleen samples from 153 red foxes, shot during regular hunting season in the province of Pisa (Central Italy), were examined to detect DNA of Anaplasma phagocytophilumEhrlichia canisCoxiella burnetiiFrancisella tularensisHepatozoon canis and Babesia sp./Theileriasp.

DNA of vector-borne pathogens was detected in 120 (78.43%; 95% CI: 71.06–84.66%) foxes. Specifically, 75 (49%; 95% CI: 40.86–57.22%) animals scored PCR-positive per H. canis, 68 (44.44%; 95% CI: 36.42–52.69%) for E. canis, 35 (22.88%; 95% CI: 16.48–30.35%) for piroplasms (Theileria annae), 3 (1.96%; 95% CI: 0.41–5.62%) for C. burnetii and 1 (0.65%; 95% CI: 0.02–3.59%) for A. phagocytophilum. No positive reaction was observed for F. tularensis. Fifty-six animals (36.6%; 95% CI: 28.97–44.76%) were positive for two or three pathogens. Red foxes result to be involved in the cycle of vector-borne pathogens that are associated to disease in dogs and humans.

Graphical abstract

eywords: Red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Vector-borne pathogens, Zoonoses, Ticks.

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