Hemoparasites in ticks of wild birds of Serra dos Órgãos National Park, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Abstract The aim of this study is to detect the presence of tick-borne agents of genera Rickettsia, Borrelia, Babesia, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma in ticks collected from native wild birds in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Birds were captured and observed carefully to find the ectoparasites. DNA detection of hemoparasites was performed by means of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The sequences obtained were analyzed and their homologies were compared to the available isolates in the GenBank platform database. A total of 33 birds were captured from 20 different species, of which 14 were parasitized by Amblyomma longirostre (n = 22). There was absence of DNA from agents of the genera Babesia, Anaplasma and Ehrlichia in the evaluated samples. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that one sample had 100% identity with Rickettsia bellii (KJ534309), the other two samples showed 100% identity with Rickettsia sp. Aranha strain and strain AL (EU274654 and AY360216). The positive sample for R. bellii was also demonstrated to be positive for Borrelia sp., which presented a similarity of 91% with Borrelia turcica (KF422815). This is the first description of Borrelia sp. in ticks of the genus Amblyomma in South America.