Lydia Hocine, Racha Boubekeur, Sami Maiouh, Khaled Abdelouahed, Salim Bekhouche, Haiet Hamoudi Adjmi, Almountassir Ourad, Idir Bitam

First detection of Leishmania DNA in ticks collected from domestic and wild animals in Algeria

Abstract Herewith, we report the detection of Leishmania major and Leishmania infantum DNA in ticks collected from diverse animal species in two sites in northern Algeria (Algiers and Tizi-Ouzou). Between December 2019 and April 2020, 422 ticks were collected from dogs, cows, turtles and boars during a period when sand flies, the main vectors, are not very active where the main vectors, sand flies, are not very active. A total of 237 ticks (56.2%) were identified as Rhipicephalus sanguineus, followed by 131 Hyalomma marginatum (31%), 20 Ixodes ricinus (4.7%), 16 Dermacentor marginatus (3.8%), 10 Rhipicephalus turanicus (2.4%), 7 Hyalomma aegyptium (1.7%) and 1 Hyalomma detritum (0.2%). The DNA was extracted and the polymerase chain reaction was performed to detect the potential presence of Leishmania spp. DNA. The results were positive in four of the collected species: Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Rhipicephalus turanicus, Dermacentor marginatus and Hyalomma aegyptium. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) PCR performed to identify the Leishmania species gave profiles of Leishmania major and Leishmania infantum. The presence of Leishmania spp. DNA in ticks from Algeria is reported here for the first time. To the best of our knowledge, Leishmania major DNA is detected for the first time in ticks. These findings do not confirm the role of ticks as an active vector of Leishmania parasites. However, it is suggested to not overlook the current knowledge during the establishment of Leishmaniasis control strategies until further information.


Keywords Ticks; Algeria; Leishmania spp.; PCR; PCR-RFLP

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