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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Vector-Borne Zoonotic Pathogens in Eurasian Moose (Alces alces alces)

Malmsten, Jonas; Dalin, Anne-Marie; Moutailler, Sara; Devillers, Elodie; Gondard, Mathilde; Felton, Annika


Climate change, with warmer temperatures and altered precipitation patterns, has affected the distribution of vectors and vector-borne diseases. In the northern hemisphere, vectors are spreading north, and with them, pathogens of zoonotic and animal health impact. Eurasian moose (Alces alces alces) are physiologically and anatomically adapted for cold climate, and are rarely considered ideal hosts of vectors, apart from deer keds (Lipoptena cervi). To investigate the presence of vector-borne pathogens, spleen samples from 615 moose were collected in southern Sweden from 2008 to 2015. The samples were analyzed with a high-throughput PCR method for 24 bacterial, and 12 parasitic pathogens. Anaplasma (82%), Borrelia (3%), Babesia (3%), and Bartonella (1%) DNA was found, showing that moose are exposed to, and can act as hosts of some of these pathogens, which can have an impact of both animal and human health. These results show that Swedish moose are exposed to pathogens that in some instances are more commonly found in regions with warmer climate, and highlights the importance of also considering moose as sentinels of vector-borne pathogens. Further research is needed to understand the effect of these pathogens on the health of individual moose and to elucidate whether climate change and moose population density interact to create the pattern observed.


Babesia; Borrelia; Sweden; vector-borne; Zoonosis

Published in

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
2019, Volume: 19, number: 3, pages: 207-211