Molecular investigation of tick-borne pathogens in ticks removed from
tick-bitten humans in the Republic of Korea
This study investigated the presence of tick-borne pathogens in ticks
removed from humans in Korea. We identified 33 ticks from three tick
species, namely Amblyomma testudinarium (60.6%), Haemaphysalis
longicornis (27.3%), and Ixodes nipponensis (12.1%) in order of
occurrence. Tick-borne pathogens were found in 16 ticks using
pathogen-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). From the results, 12
ticks (36.4%) tested positive for spotted fever group (SFG) Rickettsia:
Rickettsia monacensis (1/12), R. tamurae (8/12), and Candidatus
Rickettsia jingxinensis (3/12). Three ticks (9.1%) were positive for
Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In addition, three ticks (9.1%) tested
positive for Babesia gibsoni (1/3) and B. microti (2/3). In conclusion,
we identified three tick species; the most common species was A.
testudinarium followed by H. longicornis and I. nipponensis. SFG
Rickettsia, A. phagocytophilum, and Babesia spp. were the most
frequently detected pathogens in ticks removed from tick-bitten humans.
R. tamurae and Ca. R. jingxinensis were firstly detected in Korea.