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Atelerix algirus, the North African Hedgehog: Suitable Wild Host for Infected Ticks and Fleas and Reservoir of Vector-Borne Pathogens in Tunisia

Abstract : Small wild mammals are an important element in the emergence and transmission of vector-borne pathogens (VBPs). Among these species, hedgehogs have been found to be a reservoir of VBPs and host of arthropod vectors. Surveillance of VBPs in wildlife and their arthropods are crucial in a one health context. We conducted an exploratory study to screen Atelerix algirus hedgehogs and their infesting ticks and fleas for VBPs using a high throughput microfluidic real-time PCR system. Tested biopsies from hedgehogs were found to be naturally infected by Theileria youngi, Hepatozoon sp., Ehrlichia ewingii, Coxiella burnetii, and Candidatus Ehrlichia shimanensis. Similarly, Haemaphysalis erinacei and Rhipicephalus sanguineus tick species were infected by Ehrlichia ewingii, Rickettsia spp., Rickettsia massiliae, Borrelia sp., Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia lusitaniae and Anaplasma sp. Archaeopsylla erinacei fleas were infected by Rickettsia asembonensis, Coxiella burnetii, and Rickettsia massiliae. Co-infections by two and three pathogens were detected in hedgehogs and infesting ticks and fleas. The microfluidic real-time PCR system enabled us not only to detect new and unexpected pathogens, but also to identify co-infections in hedgehogs, ticks, and fleas. We suggest that hedgehogs may play a reservoir role for VBPs in Tunisia and contribute to maintaining enzootic pathogen cycles via arthropod vectors.
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https://hal-anses.archives-ouvertes.fr/anses-03324393
Contributor : Sara Moutailler <>
Submitted on : Monday, August 23, 2021 - 3:44:09 PM
Last modification on : Monday, September 13, 2021 - 3:01:42 PM

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Ghofrane Balti, Clemence Galon, Moufida Derghal, Hejer Souguir, Souheila Guerbouj, et al.. Atelerix algirus, the North African Hedgehog: Suitable Wild Host for Infected Ticks and Fleas and Reservoir of Vector-Borne Pathogens in Tunisia. Pathogens, MDPI, 2021, 10 (8), ⟨10.3390/pathogens10080953⟩. ⟨anses-03324393⟩

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