Following the increase in wild boar population recorded in urban and
peri-urban areas through Europe, the present survey aimed to assess the
occurrence of zoonotic tick-borne bacteria in animals and their ticks
collected from southern Italy, in order to evaluate the potential risk
of infection for animals and humans. From October to December 2019, a
total of 176 ticks collected from 93 wild boars and their spleen samples
were molecularly screened for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato
complex, Coxiella burnetii and spotted fever group (SFG)
Rickettsia species. Overall, all the wild boars were infested by
ticks (mean intensity, 1.9) with Dermacentor marginatus and
Ixodes ricinus being identified in 99.4% and 0.6%,
respectively. Out of 93 wild boars, 17 (18.3%) were infested by ticks
positive to spotted fever group (SFG) Rickettsia species.
Rickettsia slovaca and Rickettsia raoultii were identified
in 16 (9%) and 1 (0.6%) D. marginatus, respectively, whereas a
single I. ricinus (0.6%) was infected by R. slovaca. A
single wild boar (1.1%) scored positive to R. slovaca. All ticks
and wild boars scored negative to C. burnetii and B.
burgdorferi s.l. complex. Data herein obtained suggest wild boars are
involved in the dissemination of D. marginatus, especially in
peri-urban settlements of the study area. An integrated management
approach is advocated for wild boar population control and preventing
the potential risk of tick-borne bacteria in animals and humans.