A four-year study reveals the potential role of the soft tick Ornithodoros maritimus in the transmission and circulation of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull colonies.
A soft tick vector of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) nests
Recommendation: posted 19 July 2023, validated 19 July 2023
Pollet, T. (2023) A four-year study reveals the potential role of the soft tick Ornithodoros maritimus in the transmission and circulation of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull colonies. . Peer Community In Infections, 100082. 10.24072/pci.infections.100082
Worldwide, ticks and tick-borne diseases are a persistent example of problems at the One Health interface between humans, wildlife, and environment (1, 2). The management and prevention of ticks and tick-borne diseases require a better understanding of host, tick and pathogen interactions and thus get a better view of the tick-borne pathosystems.
In this study (3), the tick-borne pathosystem included three component species: first a seabird host, the Yellow-legged gull (YLG - Larus michahellis, Laridae), second a soft nidicolous tick (Ornithodoros maritimus, Argasidae, syn. Alectorobius maritimus) known to infest this host and third a blood parasite (Babesia sp. YLG, Piroplasmidae). In this pathosystem, authors investigated the role of the soft tick, Ornithodoros maritimus, as a potential vector of Babesia sp. YLG. They analyzed the transmission of Babesia sp. YLG by collecting different tick life stages from YLG nests during 4 consecutive years on the islet of Carteau (Gulf of Fos, Camargue, France). Ticks were dissected and organs were analyzed separately to detect the presence of Babesia sp DNA and to evaluate different transmission pathways.
While the authors detected Babesia sp. YLG DNA in the salivary glands of nymphs, females and males, this result reveals a strong suspicion of transmission of the parasite by the soft tick. Babesia sp. YLG DNA was also found in tick ovaries, which could indicate possible transovarial transmission. Finally, the authors detected Babesia sp. YLG DNA in several male testes and in endospermatophores, and notably in a parasite-free female (uninfected ovaries and salivary glands). These last results raise the interesting possibility of sexual transmission from infected males to uninfected females.
As pointed out by both reviewers, this is a nice study, well written and easy to read. All the results are new and allow to better understand the role of the soft tick, Ornithodoros maritimus, as a potential vector of Babesia sp. YLG. They finally question about the degree to which the parasite can be maintained locally by ticks and the epidemiological consequences of infection for both O. maritimus and its avian host. For all these reasons, I chose to recommend this article for Peer Community In Infections.
- Dantas-Torres et al (2012). Ticks and tick-borne diseases: a One Health perspective. Trends Parasitol. 28:437. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2012.07.003
- Johnson N et al (2022). One Health Approach to Tick and Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance in the United Kingdom. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 19:5833. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105833
- Bonsergent C, Vittecoq M, Leray C, Jouglin M, Buysse M, McCoy KD, Malandrin L. A soft tick vector of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) nests. bioRxiv, 2023.03.24.534071, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.24.534071
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
UMR BIOEPAR, ANR grant EcoDIS (ANR-20-CE34-0002)394, research grant DISTIC from the Labex CeMEB (Centre Méditerranéen de395 l’Environnement et de la Biodiversité) with the support an ANR "Investissements d'avenir" program (ANR-396 10-LABX-04-01)
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.24.534071
Version of the preprint: 1
Author's Reply, 07 Jul 2023
Decision by Thomas Pollet, posted 13 Jun 2023, validated 13 Jun 2023
Thank you for submitting your preprint in PCI Infections. Your manuscript has been evaluated by two reviewers. Both highlighted the relevance of the questions addressed and the good quality of your study and results. However, before being recommended in PCI Infections, you should consider several remarks and comments pointed out by the reviewers.
Please address these points and submit both a revised version of your manuscript and a response letter. I look forward to receiving your revised manuscript.