Detection of Babesia odocoilei in Ixodes scapularis Ticks Collected in Southern Ontario, Canada

Pathogens 2021, 10(3), 327;
Received: 5 February 2021 / Revised: 2 March 2021 / Accepted: 4 March 2021 / Published: 10 March 2021
Tick-borne zoonotic diseases have an economic and societal impact on the well-being of people worldwide. In the present study, a high frequency of Babesia odocoilei, a red blood cell parasite, was observed in the Huronia area of Ontario, Canada. Notably, 71% (15/21) blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, collected from canine and feline hosts were infected with B. odocoilei. Consistent with U.S. studies, 12.5% (4/32) of questing I. scapularis adults collected by flagging in various parts of southwestern Ontario were positive for B. odocoilei. Our data show that all B. odocoilei strains in the present study have consistent genetic identity, and match type strains in the GenBank database. The high incidence of B. odocoilei in the Huronia area indicates that this babesial infection is established, and is cycling enzootically in the natural environment. Our data confirm that B. odocoilei has wide distribution in southern Ontario. View Full-Text
Just last year, for the first time, Scott et al. confirmed the transstadial passage of B. odocoilei in black legged ticks molting from larvae to nymphs, showing it is present in all mobile lifestages.  These ticks are widely dispersed from common song-birds.  The question begging to be asked of course is whether Babesia odocoilei is a human pathogen.  Once again it would explain why so many aren’t testing positive for Babesia.
These important transmission studies are ignored but piling up by the week with all the newly discovered strains of coinfections that will never in a thousand years be picked up by current testing.
Transmission isn’t a sexy topic; however, and money for research continues to be driven by the climate agenda.