In summer 2008, a total of 512 Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks was collected from vegetation in four areas at the Baltic coast of Germany and tested for the presence of Lyme disease spirochetes. Among them, 293 ticks from three areas were screened for Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae), rickettsiae of the spotted fever group (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae), and Babesia spp. (Piroplasmida: Babesiidae), respectively. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae) were detected in 3.1% of the tick samples. The prevalence of A. phagocytophilum was 1.0%, rickettsiae were present in 8.5%, and pathogenic Babesia spp. in 8.9% of analyzed ticks. Coinfections occurred in five ticks. With this study we report first data on the coexistence of established and emerging pathogens in questing ticks from recreational areas of northeastern Germany, indicating the need of further studies for a reliable risk assessment.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2