Deer serve as reservoirs of tick-borne pathogens that impact on medical and veterinary health worldwide. In the Republic of Korea, the population of Korean water deer (KWD, Hydropotes inermis argyropus) has greatly increased from 1982 to 2011, in part, as a result of reforestation programs established following the Korean War when much of the land was barren of trees. Eighty seven Haemaphysalis flava, 228 Haemaphysalis longicornis, 8 Ixodes nipponensis, and 40 Ixodes persulcatus (21 larvae, 114 nymphs, and 228 adults) were collected from 27 out of 70 KWD. A total of 89/363 ticks (266 pools, 24.5% minimum infection rate) and 5 (1.4%) fed ticks were positive for Anaplasma phagocytophilum using nested PCR targeting the 16S rRNA and groEL genes, respectively. The 16S rRNA gene fragment sequences of 88/89 (98.9%) of positive samples for A. phagocytophilum corresponded to previously described gene sequences from KWD spleen tissues. The 16S rRNA gene fragment sequences of 20/363 (5.5%) of the ticks were positive for A. bovis and were identical to previously reported sequences. Using the ITS specific nested PCR, 11/363 (3.0%) of the ticks were positive for Bartonella spp. This is the first report of Anaplasma and Bartonella spp. detected in ticks collected from KWD, suggesting that ticks are vectors of Anaplasma and Bartonella spp. between reservoir hosts in natural surroundings.
Anaplasma spp.; Bartonella spp.; tick; Korean water deer
Nematomorpha, horsehair or Gordian worms, include about 300 freshwater species in 22 genera (Gordiida) and 5 marine species in 1 marine genus (Nectonema). They are parasitic in arthropods during their juvenile stage. In the present study, the used gordian worm was found in the feces of a dog (5-month old, male) in July 2014. Following the worm analysis using light and scanning electron microscopes, the morphological classification was re-evaluated with molecular analysis. The worm was determined to be a male worm having a bi-lobed tail and had male gonads in cross sections. It was identified as Gordius sp. (Nematomorpha: Gordiidae) based on the characteristic morphologies of cross sections and areole on the cuticle. DNA analysis on 18S rRNA partial sequence arrangements was also carried out, and the gordiid worm was assumed to be close to the genus Gordius based on a phylogenic tree analysis.
Gordius; horsehair worm; Nematomorpha; dog; Korea
Anaplasma species are obligate intracellular pathogens that can cause tick-borne diseases in mammalian hosts. To date, very few studies of their occurrence in Korean native goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) have been reported. In the present study, we investigated Anaplasma infection of Korean native goats on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, and performed phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene sequences. Our results showed that Anaplasma infection was found mostly in adult female goats. The phylogenetic tree revealed that the 7 sequences identified in Korean native goats could belong to Anaplasma sp. and were distinct from A. marginale, A. centrale, and A. ovis. The results indicated that the sequences identified to belong to Anaplasma were closely related to sequences isolated from goats in China and were clustered within the same group. To our knowledge, this is the first study to detect Anaplasma sp. infection in Korean native goats.
Anaplasma; Korean native goat; phylogenetic analysis; 16S rRNA gene
The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus). Pathogens were identified using PCR which included Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, and Theileria. Rickettsia was not detected, whereas Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Theileria infections were detected in 4, 2, and 8 animals, respectively. The most prevalent pathogen was Theileria. Of the 8 Theileria-positive animals, 2 were mixed-infected with 3 pathogens (Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Theileria) and another 2 animals showed mixed-infection with 2 pathogens (Anaplasma and Theileria). Sequencing analysis was used to verify the PCR results. The pathogens found in this study were identified as Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia canis, and Theileria sp. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report identifying these 3 pathogens in the Korean water deer. Our results suggest that the Korean water deer may serve as a major reservoir for these tick-borne pathogens, leading to spread of tick-borne diseases to domestic animals, livestock, and humans. Further studies are needed to investigate their roles in this respect.
Anaplasma; Ehrlichia; Theileria; tick-borne pathogen; Korean water deer; reservoir
Ticks were collected from 35 animals from 5 provinces and 3 metropolitan cities during 2012. Ticks also were collected by tick drag from 4 sites in Gyeonggi-do (2) and Jeollabuk-do (2) Provinces. A total of 612 ticks belonging to 6 species and 3 genera were collected from mammals and a bird (n=573) and by tick drag (n=39). Haemaphyalis longicornis (n=434) was the most commonly collected tick, followed by H. flava (158), Ixodes nipponensis (11), Amblyomma testudinarium (7), H. japonica (1), and H. formosensis (1). H. longicornis and H. flava were collected from all animal hosts examined. For animal hosts (n>1), the highest Tick Index (TI) was observed for domestic dogs (29.6), followed by Siberian roe deer (17.4), water deer (14.4), and raccoon dogs (1.3). A total of 402 H. longicornis (adults 86, 21.4%; nymphs 160, 39.8%; larvae 156, 38.9%) were collected from wild and domestic animals. A total of 158 H. flava (n=158) were collected from wild and domestic animals and 1 ring-necked pheasant, with a higher proportion of adults (103, 65.2%), while nymphs and larvae only accounted for 12.7% (20) and 22.2% (35), respectively. Only 7 A. testudinarium were collected from the wild boar (6 adults) and Eurasian badger (1 nymph), while only 5 I. nipponensis were collected from the water deer (4 adults) and a raccoon dog (1 adult). One adult female H. formosensis was first collected from vegetation by tick drag from Mara Island, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do Province.
Haemaphysalis longicornis; Haemaphysalis flava; Haemaphysalis formosensis; animal; abundance; tick index
There are 60 species of blood-feeding land leeches, 50 species belonging to the family Haemadipsidae and 10 species belonging to the family Xerobdellidae. Despite recent papers on the land leeches, their taxonomic identification is not fully understood, especially at a species level. In Korea, there have been no historical records of the terrestrial leeches, but recently an unrecorded blood-feeding land leech was discovered at Gageo-do (Island), Korea. Molecular analysis was used to identify the species of 29 leeches collected from Mt. Dock-Sil in Gageo-do. Conventional PCR was conducted using nuclear 18S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) genetic marker. The 18S rRNA sequences revealed that the leeches share 99.9% identity with Haemadipsa rjukjuana (inhabiting Taiwan), and the CO1 sequences revealed that the leeches are very close to H. rjukjuana (inhabiting Taiwan). The CO1 sequences were separated into 2 categories, 1 with 94.6% and the other with 94.3% similarity to the H. rjukjuana L00115A (inhabiting Taiwan). This new finding of the land leech is the first record in Korea. In addition, the north range of the distribution of the blood-feeding leech (Hirudiniformes: Haemadipisidae) should be reconsidered including Korea.
Haemadipsa rjukjuana; terrestrial leech; blood-feeding vector
Tendinitis of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) is a significant cause of lameness in horses; however, recent studies have shown that stem cells could be useful in veterinary regenerative medicine. Therefore, we isolated and characterized equine umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stem cells (eUCB-MSCs) from equine umbilical cord blood obtained from thoroughbred mares during the foaling period. Horses that had tendinitis of the SDFT were treated with eUCB-MSCs to confirm the therapeutic effect. After eUCB-MSCs transplantation, the core lesion in the SDFT was found to decrease. These results suggest that transplantation using eUCB-MSCs could be another source of cell treatment.
cell transplantation; equine; mesenchymal stem cells; umbilical cord blood
Recent studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are able to differentiate into multi-lineage cells such as adipocytes, chondroblasts, and osteoblasts. Amniotic membrane from whole placenta is a good source of stem cells in humans. This membrane can potentially be used for wound healing and corneal surface reconstruction. Moreover, it can be easily obtained after delivery and is usually discarded as classified waste. In the present study, we successfully isolated and characterized equine amniotic membrane-derived mesenchymal stem cells (eAM-MSCs) that were cultured and maintained in low glucose Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium. The proliferation of eAM-MSCs was measured based on the cumulative population doubling level (CPDL). Immunophenotyping of eAM-MSCs by flow cytometry showed that the major population was of mesenchymal origin. To confirm differentiation potential, a multi-lineage differentiation assay was conducted. We found that under appropriate conditions, eAM-MSCs are capable of multi-lineage differentiation. Our results indicated that eAM-MSCs may be a good source of stem cells, making them potentially useful for veterinary regenerative medicine and cell-based therapy.
amnion; amniotic membrane; equine; isolation; mesenchymal stem cells
This study describes the seasonal distribution of larvae, nymph, and adult life stages for 3 species of ixodid ticks collected by tick drag and sweep methods from various habitats in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Grasses less than 0.5 m in height, including herbaceous and crawling vegetation, and deciduous, conifer, and mixed forests with abundant leaf/needle litter were surveyed at United States (US) and ROK operated military training sites and privately owned lands near the demilitarized zone from April-October, 2004 and 2005. Haemaphysalis longicornis Neumann adults and nymphs were more frequently collected from April-August, while those of Haemaphysalis flava Neumann and Ixodes nipponensis Kitaoka and Saito were collected more frequently from April-July and again during October. H. longicornis was the most frequently collected tick in grass habitats (98.9%), while H. flava was more frequently collected in deciduous (60.2%) and conifer (57.4%) forest habitats. While more H. flava (54.1%) were collected in mixed forest habitats than H. longicornis (35.2%), the differences were not significant. I. nipponensis was more frequently collected from conifer (mean 8.8) compared to deciduous (3.2) and mixed (2.4) forests.
Haemaphysalis; Ixodes; tick; seasonal distribution; habitats; Korea
A tick survey was conducted to determine the relative abundance and distribution of ticks associated with selected mammals in the Republic of Korea (ROK) during 2008-2009. A total of 918 ticks were collected from 76 mammals (6 families, 9 species) captured at 6 provinces and 3 Metropolitan Cities in ROK. Haemaphysalis longicornis (54.4%) was the most frequently collected tick, followed by Haemaphysalis flava (28.5%), Ixodes nipponensis (7.6%), Ixodes pomerantzevi (4.8%), Ixodes persulcatus (4.6%), and Haemaphysalis japonica (0.1%). Adults (57.0%) and nymphs (28.7%) of Ixodes and Haemaphysalis spp. were collected most frequently from medium or large mammals in this survey, while few larvae (14.3%) were collected. Hydropotes inermis was the most frequently captured mammal (52.6%), with a 16.4 tick index and 5 of 6 species of ticks collected during this survey. H. longicornis (69.7%) was the predominant tick collected from H. inermis, followed by H. flava (22.2%), I. persulcatus (6.1%), I. nipponensis (1.8%), and H. japonica (0.2%).
Haemaphysalis longicornis; Haemaphysalis flava; Ixodes nipponensis; mammal; host; distribution
The prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in southern Korea was determined by collecting ticks using tick drags. A total of 4,077 of 6,788 ticks collected were pooled (649 pools) according to collection site, species, and developmental stage and assayed for TBEV. The TBEV protein E and NS5 gene fragments were detected using RT-nested PCR in six pools of nymphs collected from Jeju Island (2,491 ticks). The minimum field detection rates for TBEV were 0.17% and 0.14% for Haemaphysalis longicornis and Haemayphysalis flava nymphs, respectively. The 252 bp NS5 and 477 bp protein E gene amplicons were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the NS5 and protein E genes of the Jeju strain were clustered with Western subtype (98.0% and 99.4% identity, respectively). The Western subtype of TBEV is endemic in Korea, including Jeju Island. The study of vector and zoonotic host susceptibility to TBEV is required to better understand its potential impact on public health.
Haemaphysalis flava; Haemaphysalis longicornis; Korea; tick; tick-borne encephalitis virus
A total of 1,618 ticks [420 individual (adults) and pooled (larvae and nymphs) samples], 369 rodents (Apodemus agrarius, Rattus norvegicus, Tscherskia triton, Mus musculus, and Myodes regulus), and 34 shrews (Crocidura lasiura) that were collected in northern Gyeonggi-do near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of Korea during 2004-2005, were assayed by PCR for selected zoonotic pathogens. From a total of 420 individual and pooled tick DNA samples, Anaplasma (A.) phagocytophilum (16), A. platys (16), Ehrlichia (E.) chaffeensis (63), Borrelia burgdorferi (16), and Rickettsia spp. (198) were detected using species-specific PCR assays. Out of 403 spleens from rodents and shrews, A. phagocytophilum (20), A. platys (34), E. chaffeensis (127), and Bartonella spp. (24) were detected with species-specific PCR assays. These results suggest that fevers of unknown causes in humans and animals in Korea should be evaluated for infections by these vector-borne microbial pathogens.
Bartonella; Borrelia; Rickettsia; rodents; Crocidura lasiura; tick-borne pathogens
In order to investigate the prevalence of tick-borne infectious agents among ticks, ticks comprising five species from two genera (Hemaphysalis spp. and Ixodes spp.) were screened using molecular techniques. Ticks (3,135) were collected from small wild-caught mammals or by dragging/flagging in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and were pooled into a total of 1,638 samples (1 to 27 ticks per pool). From the 1,638 tick samples, species-specific fragments of Anaplasma phagocytophilum (1 sample), Anaplasma platys (52 samples), Ehrlichia chaffeensis (29 samples), Ehrlichia ewingii (2 samples), Ehrlichia canis (18 samples), and Rickettsia rickettsii (28 samples) were amplified by PCR assay. Twenty-one pooled and individual tick samples had mixed infections of two (15 samples) or three (6 samples) pathogens. In addition, 424 spleen samples from small captured mammals (389 rodents, 33 insectivores, and 2 weasels) were screened for selected zoonotic pathogens. Species-specific DNA fragments of A. phagocytophilum (110 samples), A. platys (68 samples), E. chaffeensis (8 samples), E. ewingii (26 samples), E. canis (51 samples), and Rickettsia sp. (22 samples) were amplified by PCR assay. One hundred thirty small mammals had single infections, while 4, 14, and 21 striped field mice (Apodemus agrarius) had mixed infections of four, three, and two pathogens, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on nucleotide sequence comparison also revealed that Korean strains of E. chaffeensis clustered closely with those from China and the United States, while the Rickettsia (rOmpA) sequences clustered within a clade together with a Chinese strain. These results suggest that these agents should be considered in differential diagnosis while examining cases of acute febrile illnesses in humans as well as animals in the ROK.
Methicillin (oxacillin)-resistant staphylococci (MRS) have emerged as major clinical and epidemiological pathogens, and there have been frequent reports of MRS infections in the veterinary field. The MRSA-Screen latex agglutination test (Denka Seiken Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) was compared with an oxacillin agar screen test, MIC determination, and mecA PCR assay, the “gold standard.” In an analysis of 15 mecA-positive and 48 mecA-negative S. aureus animal isolates, as well as 9 mecA-positive and 147 mecA-negative, coagulase-negative staphylococcal animal isolates, the latex agglutination test surpassed the widely used oxacillin agar screen method and MIC determination, with a sensitivity and a specificity of 100%. The MRSA-Screen test is a reliable and rapid method of detecting MRS in the veterinary field.
Two hundred seventy one serum samples from South Korean patients were tested to detect antibodies against Anaplasma phagocytophilum (the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent) and Ehrlichia chaffeensis (the human monocytic ehrlichiosis agent) by indirect fluorescent-antibody assay (IFA) and the Western blot assay. These sera were collected from patients with symptoms of high fever. The rate of seropositivity for Orientia tsutsugamushi was 50.9% by IFA at the Public Health & Environmental Research Institute and National Institute of Health in South Korea. By IFA, 30 (11.1%) and 39 (14.4%) of the serum samples reacted with A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis antigens, respectively. By the Western blot assays, 24 (8.9%) and 29 (10.7%) of the serum samples reacted with purified A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis protein antigens, respectively. This report strengthens other evidence regarding the presence of A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis infections in humans in South Korea.
Sera from 491 Korean patients with acute febrile diseases were tested for Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Anaplasma phagocytophila antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA), Western blotting, and TaqMan real-time PCR. Overall, 0.4% of sera reacted with E. chaffeensis, and 1.8% reacted with A. phagocytophila in IFAs. This is the first report of detection of antibodies to A. phagocytophila and E. chaffeensis in Korea and suggests the presence of A. phagocytophila and E. chaffeensis or antigenically similar species.
We examined 11 naturally occurring isolates of Ehrlichia equi in horses and two human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent isolates in California for sequence diversity in three genes. Ehrlichia equi isolates were from Sierra (n = 6), Mendocino (n = 3), Sonoma (n = 1), and Marin (n = 1) counties, and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) agent isolates were obtained from Humboldt county. PCR with specific primers for 16S rRNA, 444 Ep-ank and groESL heat shock operon genes successfully produced amplicons for all 13 clinical samples. The 444 Ep-ank gene of the HGE agent and E. equi isolates from northern California is different from the eastern U.S. isolates BDS and USG3. The translated amino acid sequence of the groESL heat shock operon gene fragment is identical among E. equi, the HGE agent, and E. phagocytophila, with the exception of the northern Californian equine CASOLJ isolate. Microheterogeneity was observed in the 16S rRNA gene sequences of HGE agent and E. equi isolates from northern California. These results suggest that E. equi and the HGE agent found in California are similar or identical but may differ from the isolates of equine and human origin found in the eastern United States.
We report successful helminthic transmission of Ehrlichia risticii, the causative agent of Potomac horse fever, using trematode stages collected from Juga yrekaensis snails. The ehrlichial agent was isolated from the blood of experimentally infected horses by culture in murine monocytic cells and identified as E. risticii ultrastructurally and by characterization of three different genes.
We report the successful infection throughout intravenous inoculation with low and high passage of in vitro-grown human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) agent in horses. Differences in disease severity but not in incubation time, hematological changes, PCR detection, ehrlichial load, seroconversion time, and titer range were noted between horses infected with a low and a high passage of in vitro-grown HGE agent.
This paper describes the kinetics of the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent in the blood of horses experimentally infected by intravenous inoculation with infected leukocytes and by infected ticks as evaluated by using a real-time quantitative PCR assay. The data obtained indicated differences in the period of incubation, duration of rickettsemia, and initial and maximal ehrlichial loads between the two routes of infection.
Theileria sp.-specific small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene amplification confirmed the presence of the organism in cattle and in Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis ticks collected from a cattle herd in Missouri. Blood from the index animal had type A and type D Theileria SSU rRNA genes. The type D gene was also found in blood from two cohort cattle and tick tissues. The type A SSU rRNA gene was previously reported from bovine Theileria isolates from Texas and North Carolina; the type D gene was reported from a Texas cow with theileriosis.