The Common Shrew (Sorex araneus): A Neglected Host of Tick-Borne Infections?

Kevin J. Bown, Xavier Lambin, Gill Telford, Diane Heyder-Bruckner, Nicholas H. Ogden, Richard J. Birtles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although the importance of rodents as reservoirs for a number of tick-borne infections is well established, comparatively little is known about the potential role of shrews, despite them occupying similar habitats. To address this, blood and tick samples were collected from common shrews (Sorex araneus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis), a known reservoir of various tick-borne infections, from sites located within a plantation forest in northern England over a 2-year period. Of 647 blood samples collected from shrews, 121 (18.7%) showed evidence of infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum and 196 (30.3%) with Babesia microti. By comparison, of 1505 blood samples from field voles, 96 (6.4%) were positive for A. phagocytophilum and 458 (30.4%) for Ba. microti. Both species were infested with the ticks Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes trianguliceps, although they had different burdens: on average, shrews carried almost six times as many I. trianguliceps larvae, more than twice as many I. ricinus larvae, and over twice as many nymphs (both tick species combined). The finding that the nymphs collected from shrews were almost exclusively I. trianguliceps highlights that this species is the key vector of these infections in this small mammal community. These findings suggest that common shrews are a reservoir of tick-borne infections and that the role of shrews in the ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne infections elsewhere needs to be comprehensively investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-953
Number of pages7
JournalVector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume11
Issue number7
Early online date31 Mar 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Anaplasma
  • Babesia
  • Ixodes
  • Rodents
  • Tick(s)
  • Human garnulocytic ehrlichiosis
  • Babesia-microti infection
  • Ixodes-ricinus ticks
  • Small mammal hosts
  • Borrelia-burgdorferi
  • Anaplasma-phagocytophilum
  • Lyme-Disease
  • Agrestis populations
  • Seasonal dynamics
  • United-Kingdom

Cite this

The Common Shrew (Sorex araneus) : A Neglected Host of Tick-Borne Infections? / Bown, Kevin J.; Lambin, Xavier; Telford, Gill; Heyder-Bruckner, Diane; Ogden, Nicholas H.; Birtles, Richard J.

In: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, Vol. 11, No. 7, 07.2011, p. 947-953.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bown, KJ, Lambin, X, Telford, G, Heyder-Bruckner, D, Ogden, NH & Birtles, RJ 2011, 'The Common Shrew (Sorex araneus): A Neglected Host of Tick-Borne Infections?', Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, vol. 11, no. 7, pp. 947-953. https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2010.0185
Bown, Kevin J. ; Lambin, Xavier ; Telford, Gill ; Heyder-Bruckner, Diane ; Ogden, Nicholas H. ; Birtles, Richard J. / The Common Shrew (Sorex araneus) : A Neglected Host of Tick-Borne Infections?. In: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 2011 ; Vol. 11, No. 7. pp. 947-953.
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abstract = "Although the importance of rodents as reservoirs for a number of tick-borne infections is well established, comparatively little is known about the potential role of shrews, despite them occupying similar habitats. To address this, blood and tick samples were collected from common shrews (Sorex araneus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis), a known reservoir of various tick-borne infections, from sites located within a plantation forest in northern England over a 2-year period. Of 647 blood samples collected from shrews, 121 (18.7{\%}) showed evidence of infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum and 196 (30.3{\%}) with Babesia microti. By comparison, of 1505 blood samples from field voles, 96 (6.4{\%}) were positive for A. phagocytophilum and 458 (30.4{\%}) for Ba. microti. Both species were infested with the ticks Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes trianguliceps, although they had different burdens: on average, shrews carried almost six times as many I. trianguliceps larvae, more than twice as many I. ricinus larvae, and over twice as many nymphs (both tick species combined). The finding that the nymphs collected from shrews were almost exclusively I. trianguliceps highlights that this species is the key vector of these infections in this small mammal community. These findings suggest that common shrews are a reservoir of tick-borne infections and that the role of shrews in the ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne infections elsewhere needs to be comprehensively investigated.",
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T2 - A Neglected Host of Tick-Borne Infections?

AU - Bown, Kevin J.

AU - Lambin, Xavier

AU - Telford, Gill

AU - Heyder-Bruckner, Diane

AU - Ogden, Nicholas H.

AU - Birtles, Richard J.

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N2 - Although the importance of rodents as reservoirs for a number of tick-borne infections is well established, comparatively little is known about the potential role of shrews, despite them occupying similar habitats. To address this, blood and tick samples were collected from common shrews (Sorex araneus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis), a known reservoir of various tick-borne infections, from sites located within a plantation forest in northern England over a 2-year period. Of 647 blood samples collected from shrews, 121 (18.7%) showed evidence of infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum and 196 (30.3%) with Babesia microti. By comparison, of 1505 blood samples from field voles, 96 (6.4%) were positive for A. phagocytophilum and 458 (30.4%) for Ba. microti. Both species were infested with the ticks Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes trianguliceps, although they had different burdens: on average, shrews carried almost six times as many I. trianguliceps larvae, more than twice as many I. ricinus larvae, and over twice as many nymphs (both tick species combined). The finding that the nymphs collected from shrews were almost exclusively I. trianguliceps highlights that this species is the key vector of these infections in this small mammal community. These findings suggest that common shrews are a reservoir of tick-borne infections and that the role of shrews in the ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne infections elsewhere needs to be comprehensively investigated.

AB - Although the importance of rodents as reservoirs for a number of tick-borne infections is well established, comparatively little is known about the potential role of shrews, despite them occupying similar habitats. To address this, blood and tick samples were collected from common shrews (Sorex araneus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis), a known reservoir of various tick-borne infections, from sites located within a plantation forest in northern England over a 2-year period. Of 647 blood samples collected from shrews, 121 (18.7%) showed evidence of infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum and 196 (30.3%) with Babesia microti. By comparison, of 1505 blood samples from field voles, 96 (6.4%) were positive for A. phagocytophilum and 458 (30.4%) for Ba. microti. Both species were infested with the ticks Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes trianguliceps, although they had different burdens: on average, shrews carried almost six times as many I. trianguliceps larvae, more than twice as many I. ricinus larvae, and over twice as many nymphs (both tick species combined). The finding that the nymphs collected from shrews were almost exclusively I. trianguliceps highlights that this species is the key vector of these infections in this small mammal community. These findings suggest that common shrews are a reservoir of tick-borne infections and that the role of shrews in the ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne infections elsewhere needs to be comprehensively investigated.

KW - Anaplasma

KW - Babesia

KW - Ixodes

KW - Rodents

KW - Tick(s)

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KW - Babesia-microti infection

KW - Ixodes-ricinus ticks

KW - Small mammal hosts

KW - Borrelia-burgdorferi

KW - Anaplasma-phagocytophilum

KW - Lyme-Disease

KW - Agrestis populations

KW - Seasonal dynamics

KW - United-Kingdom

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EP - 953

JO - Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

JF - Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

SN - 1530-3667

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ER -