Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Candidatus Rickettsia Vini DNA in Ticks Collected from Nest Burrows of the European Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) in Sweden

Wilhelmsson, Peter; Lindgren, Per-Eric; Fransson, Thord; Grandi, Giulio; Olsen, Bjoern; Nilsson, Kenneth


Background: Birds can cross geographical and environmental barriers and thereby facilitate dispersal of tick-borne pathogens both as carriers of infected ticks and as reservoirs of pathogenic microorganisms. Ixodes lividus (Ixodida: Ixodidae) is an endophilic tick in the Palearctic region that is highly specialized on its host, the European sand martin Riparia riparia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether I. lividus ticks sampled from sand martin nests in Sweden carry vector-borne pathogens.Materials and Methods: Fed ticks were collected in the autumns of 2017 and 2019 from the nests of a European sand martin colony in southern Sweden. Ticks were identified morphologically to developmental stage and species and were tested for tick-borne pathogens using PCR-based methods.Results: None of the 41 ticks tested positive for five tick-borne pathogens including Borrelia spp., tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia spp. Thirty-seven (13 females, 23 nymphs and 1 larva) of the 41 ticks tested positive for the gltA gene of Rickettsia spp. The sequences of the 17 kDa and gltA genes were most closely related to Candidatus Rickettsia vini.Conclusion: Our study confirms other reports that I. lividus ticks associated with the European sand martin have high infection prevalence of Ca. R. vini.


Rickettsia spp; Ixodes lividus; the European sand martin; Riparia riparia; tick-borne pathogens; Sweden

Published in

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
2023, Volume: 23, number: 7, pages: 378-383