Seroexposure to Zoonotic Anaplasma and Borrelia in Dogs and Horses That Are in Contact with Vulnerable People in Italy
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Equine and canine anaplasmosis and borreliosis are major tick-borne zoonotic diseases caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum and various species of Borrelia (the most important being Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.), respectively. This study evaluated the seroexposure to Anaplasma and Borrelia in dogs and horses used in Animal-Assisted Interventions or living in contact with children, elderly people or immunocompromised persons. A total of 150 horses and 150 dogs living in Italy were equally divided into clinically healthy animals and animals with at least one clinical sign compatible with borreliosis and/or anaplasmosis (present at clinical examination or reported in the medical history). Serum samples were tested with ELISA and immunoblot for the presence of antibodies against A. phagocytophilum and B. burgdorferi s.l., and the association between seropositivity and possible risk factors was analyzed using multivariate and univariate tests. Overall, 13 dogs (8.7%) and 19 horses (12.7%) were positive for at least one of the two pathogens. In addition, 1 dog (0.7%) and 12 horses (8%) were positive for antibodies against A. phagocytophilum, while 12 dogs (8.0%) and 10 horses (6.7%) had antibodies against B. burgdorferi s.l. Tick infestation in the medical history of the dogs was significantly associated with seropositivity to at least one pathogen (p = 0.027; OR 7.398). These results indicate that, in Italy, ticks infected with A. phagocytophilum and/or B. burgdorferi circulate in places where horses and dogs are in contact with people at risk of developing severe diseases. Awareness should be increased, and adequate control plans need to be developed to protect human and animal health, especially where vulnerable, at-risk individuals are concerned.
|Publication Title||Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland)|
|Author Address||Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, 64100 Teramo, Italy.Azienda Sanitaria Locale (A.S.L.), 75100 Matera, Italy.Freelance Veterinary Practitioner, 00189 Rome, Italy.Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padua, 35020 Legnaro, Italy.Ambulatorio Veterinario Pezzuto Carlo/Piano Noemi, 86010 Campobasso, Italy.Clinica Veterinaria Città di Bari, 70125 Bari, Italy.Freelance Veterinary Practitioner, 75020 Nova Siri, Italy.EUROIMMUN Medizinische Labordiagnostika AG, 23560 Lübeck, Germany.|
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