Park Community

Park Community: ticks and pathogens transmitted in the context of a zoological reserve dedicated to cervids/bovines

Zoos concentrate a community of animals and their cohort of infectious agents in a small area. The Haute Touche Reserve of the National Museum of Natural History is mainly dedicated to Deer and Bovidae, in a forest environment rich in ticks ... Which ticks and which infectious agents accompany this concentration of herbivores?

The Haute Touche zoological reserve covers 430 hectares in the Indre in the middle of the Brenne forest park. Numerous species of deer are preserved on this site, originating from the five continents. In an attempt to understand the origin of health disorders probably attributable to tick-borne pathogens, we have established a collaboration with the reserve to study them.

Objectives of the project

Characterize the tick species present in the stockpile and the blood pathogens in herbivores.

Project Achievements

During the 4 years of the project, 829 blood samples were analysed, from 70 different species, mainly Cervidae and Bovidae. Molecular analyses revealed the presence of several species of Anaplasma, Theileria and Bartonella, which are characterized by sequencing. Trypanosomes were isolated by cell culture. Co-infections are frequent, with sometimes all 4 genera present in the same animal.

Two tick collections were carried out throughout the Reserve (101 collection points), in May and September, in addition to collections in pens and on animals. Approximately 16,000 ticks were identified, revealing the presence of 7 different species. Among the most abundant, apart from the most common species Ixodes ricinus, two species unusual in France: Haemaphysalis concinna and Haemaphysalis inermis

Vector competence analyses of these unusual tick species are still in progress.

Key strengths

This study confirmed a very high density of ticks in the Reserve and infections or co-infections by numerous pathogens in animals.

We described for the first time in Europe the presence of Anaplasma capra, a zoonotic species identified in Cervidae in the Reserve. This species is now being researched on other sites and other hosts in France.

The first valorisations of the project:

Period: 2016-2021

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Objectives of the project


Modification date : 11 September 2023 | Publication date : 14 May 2020 | Redactor : AC