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16 March 2018 Molecular and Serological Evidence of the Presence of Midichloria mitochondrii in Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) in France
Valentina Serra, Alessandra Cafiso, Nicoletta Formenti, Hélène Verheyden, Olivier Plantard, Chiara Bazzocchi, Davide Sassera
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Abstract

Midichloria mitochondrii is a tick-borne intracellular bacterium of the order Rickettsiales, found with high prevalence in the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus). Midichloria mitochondrii is capable of vertical transmission in the tick, but recently evidence of potential horizontal transmission to the tick hosts through the blood meal has been reported. We investigated the presence of the bacterium in the blood of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) collected from an area known to be highly infested with I. ricinus ticks. We collected blood and sera samples for 3 yr in Gardouch (Haute Garonne, France) and subjected them to molecular screening through PCR and to serological investigation using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blot. Bacterial DNA was detected in the blood of four of seven animals, but only at one or two points in time, whereas all sera were positive for M. mitochondrii antigens at all times. Our results indicated that the presence of the bacterium in the blood is transient, but the antibody response appeared to be long-lasting, possibly due to constant exposure to tick bites, and thus to repeated injection of bacteria. The role of M. mitochondrii in the mammalian host, and its interaction with other tick-borne bacteria, remains unknown.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2018
Valentina Serra, Alessandra Cafiso, Nicoletta Formenti, Hélène Verheyden, Olivier Plantard, Chiara Bazzocchi, and Davide Sassera "Molecular and Serological Evidence of the Presence of Midichloria mitochondrii in Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) in France," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 54(3), 597-600, (16 March 2018). https://doi.org/10.7589/2017-09-241
Received: 29 September 2017; Accepted: 17 November 2017; Published: 16 March 2018
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KEYWORDS
Ixodes ricinus
Midichloria mitochondrii
roe deer
tick-borne bacteria
vertebrate host
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