Molecular characterization of Babesia and Theileria species in ticks collected in the outskirt of Monte Romano, Lazio Region, Central Italy

Luciano Toma, Marco Di Luca, Fabiola Mancini, Francesco Severini, Carmela Mariano, Giancarlo Nicolai, Valentina Laghezza Masci, Alessandra Ciervo, Anna Maria Fausto, Simone Mario Cacciò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. In 2012-2013, an investigation was carried out in the Viterbo province, Lazio region, on ticks and tick-borne Apicomplexan protozoa of the Babesia and Theileria genera. This followed the reporting of high density of ticks by soldiers operating in a military shooting range, and the signaling by owners and local veterinary authorities of several cases of babesiosis among cattle. Methods. A total of 422 ticks were collected from 35 heads, whereas 96 ticks were collected by dragging. Ticks were identified as Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus Say (n = 373), Rhipicephalus bursa Canestrini & Fanzago (n = 63), Rhipicephalus sanguineus/turanicus (n = 32), Hyalomma marginatum Koch (n = 49) and Dermacentor marginatus Sulzer, 1776 (n = 1). A randomly selected sample of ticks (235 from animals and 36 by dragging) was analyzed using molecular methods to detect species of Babesia and Theileria. Results. In total, 11 ticks collected from animals (4.7%) and two ticks (5.5%) collected by dragging were positive. Sequencing of PCR products of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene revealed Babesia caballi (n = 2), Babesia bigemina (n = 3), Theileria sergenti/ buffeli/orientalis (n = 7) and Theileria equi (n = 1). None of the detected species has been associated with human infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-34
Number of pages5
JournalAnnali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanita
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Babesia
  • DNA sequencing
  • Italy
  • Theileria
  • Ticks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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