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1.  Multiple Co-infections of Rodents with Hantaviruses, Leptospira, and Babesia in Croatia 
Hantaviruses, Leptospira spp., and Babesia spp. are rodent-borne pathogens present worldwide. We studied multiple co-infections of small rodents in Croatia with all three pathogens. Twenty-eight Apodemus flavicollis and 16 Myodes glareolus were tested for the presence of hantavirus RNA by real-time RT-PCR, Leptospira strains by renoculture method and Babesia DNA by PCR. Anti-hantavirus antibodies and anti-Leptospira antibodies were detected by serological methods. Very high infection rates with each pathogen were found in A. flavicollis: 20 of 28 rodents (71%) were infected with Dobrava virus, 13 rodents (46%) were infected with Leptospira, and 5 rodents (18%) were infected with Babesia. Multiple co-infections with all three pathogens were found in 3 of 28 (11%) A. flavicollis animals, suggesting that the same rodent host can be infected with several pathogens at the same time. Dual infections with both hantaviruses and Leptospira were found in 7 of 44 rodents (16%), with hantaviruses and Babesia in 2 rodents (5%), and double infection with both Leptospira and Babesia were found in 1 rodent (2%). Since hantaviruses, Leptospira, and Babesia have similar geographical distributions, it is to be expected that in other parts of the world multiple co-infections, representing a serious threat to public health, can be found.
PMCID: PMC3353761  PMID: 22217170
Babesia; Hantavirus; Leptospirosis; Rodent-borne; Zoonosis
2.  Diagnostic Assays for Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever  
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(12):1958-1965.
On-site testing would diminish time, costs, and risks involved in handling of highly infectious materials.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a highly contagious viral tick-borne disease with case-fatality rates as high as 50%. We describe a collaborative evaluation of the characteristics, performance, and on-site applicability of serologic and molecular assays for diagnosis of CCHF. We evaluated ELISA, immunofluorescence, quantitative reverse transcription PCR, and low-density macroarray assays for detection of CCHF virus using precharacterized archived patient serum samples. Compared with results of local, in-house methods, test sensitivities were 87.8%–93.9% for IgM serology, 80.4%–86.1% for IgG serology, and 79.6%–83.3% for genome detection. Specificity was excellent for all assays; molecular test results were influenced by patient country of origin. Our findings demonstrate that well-characterized, reliable tools are available for CCHF diagnosis and surveillance. The on-site use of such assays by health laboratories would greatly diminish the time, costs, and risks posed by the handling, packaging, and shipping of highly infectious biologic material.
PMCID: PMC3557897  PMID: 23171700
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever; vector-borne infections; viruses; CCHFV; diagnostics; ELISA; IFA; qRT-PCR; multicenter; serology; molecular; diagnosis; reverse transcription PCR; PCR; immunofluorescent assay; tick-borne infections; CCHF
3.  Anaplasma phagocytophilum in ticks in Slovenia 
Parasites & Vectors  2010;3:102.
Ticks act as vectors of many pathogens of domestic animals and humans. Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Europe is transmitted by the ixodid tick vector Ixodes ricinus. A. phagocytophilum causes a disease with diverse clinical signs in various hosts. A great genetic diversity of the groESL operon of A. phagocytophilum has been found in ticks elsewhere. In Slovenia, the variety of the groESL operon was conducted only on deer samples. In this study, the prevalence of infected ticks was estimated and the diversity of A. phagocytophilum was evaluated. On 8 locations in Slovenia, 1924 and 5049 (6973) I. ricinus ticks were collected from vegetation in the years 2005 and 2006, respectively. All three feeding stages of the tick's life cycle were examined. The prevalence of ticks infected with A. phagocytophilum in the year 2005 and in the year 2006 was 0.31% and 0.63%, respectively, and it did not differ considerably between locations. The similarity among the sequences of groESL ranged from 95.6% to 99.8%. They clustered in two genetic lineages along with A. phagocytophilum from Slovenian deer. One sequence formed a separate cluster. According to our study, the prevalence of A. phagocytophilum in ticks is comparable to the findings in other studies in Europe, and it does not vary considerably between locations and tick stages. According to groESL operon analysis, two genetic lineages have been confirmed and one proposed. Further studies on other genes would be useful to obtain more information on genetic diversity of A. phagocytophilum in ticks in Slovenia.
PMCID: PMC2988007  PMID: 21050436

Results 1-3 (3)