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Diversity of Anaplasma and Ehrlichia/Neoehrlichia Agents in Terrestrial Wild Carnivores Worldwide: Implications for Human and Domestic Animal Health and Wildlife Conservation

By Marcos Rogério André

Category Journal Articles

Recently, the incidence and awareness of tick-borne diseases in humans and animals have increased due to several factors, which in association favor the chances of contact among wild animals and their ectoparasites, domestic animals and humans. Wild and domestic carnivores are considered the primary source of tick-borne zoonotic agents to humans. Among emergent tick-borne pathogens, agents belonging to family Anaplasmataceae (Order Rickettsiales) agents stand out due their worldwide distribution and zoonotic potential. In this review we aimed to review the genetic diversity of the tick-transmitted genera Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and “Candidatus Neoehrlichia sp.” in wild carnivores Caniformia (Canidae, Mustelidae and Ursidae) and Feliformia (Felidae, Hyanidae, Procyonidae and Viverridae) worldwide, discussing the implications for human and domestic animal health and wildlife conservation. Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) have been identified as hosts for Anaplasma spp. (A. phagocytophilum, Anaplasma ovis, A. platys), Ehrlichia canis and “Candidatus Neoehrlichia sp.” (FU98 strain) and may contribute to the maintaenance of A. phagocytophilum in Europe. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) have been reported as hosts for E. canis, A. bovis, “Candidatus Neoehrlichia lotoris” and A. phagocytophilum, and play a role in the maintenance of A. phagocytophilum in the USA. Raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) may play a role as hosts for A. bovis and A. phagocytophilum. New Ehrlichia and/or Anaplasma genotypes circulate in wild canids and felids from South America and Africa. While Ehrlichia sp. closely related to E. canis has been reported in wild felids from Brazil and Japan, Anaplasma sp. closely related to A. phagocytophilum has been detected in wild felids from Brazil and Africa. Red foxes and mustelids (otters) are exposed to E. canis in countries located in the Mediaterranean basin, probably as a consequence of spillover from domestic dogs. Similarly, E. canis occurs in procyonids in North (raccoons in USA, Spain) and South (Nasua nasua in Brazil) Hemispheres, in areas where E. canis is frequent in dogs. While “Candidatus Neoehrlichia lotoris” seems to be a common and specific agent of raccoons in the USA, “Candidatus Neoehrlichia sp.” (FU98 strain) seems to show a broader range of hosts, since it has been detected in red fox, golden jackal (Canis aureus) and badger (Meles meles) in Europe so far. Brown (Ursus arctos) and black (Ursus americanus) bears seem to play a role as hosts for A. phagocytophilum in the North Hemisphere. Anaplasma bovis has been detected in wild Procyonidae, Canidae and Felidae in Asia and Brazil. In order to assess the real identity of the involved agents, future works should benefit from the application of MLST (Multi Locus Sequence Typing), WGS (Whole Genome Sequencing) and NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) technologies aiming at shedding some light on the role of wild carnivores in the epidemiology of Anaplasmataceae agents.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 5
Pages 24
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2018.00293
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal roles
  3. Conservation
  4. Genetic diversity
  5. Human health
  6. open access
  7. peer-reviewed
  8. Ticks
  9. Wild animals
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed