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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2018 str. 31     <-- 31 -->        PDF

Prevalence of Francisella tularensis in the population of small mammals species in continental forests of Croatia
Prevalencija bakterije Francisella tularensis u populaciji sitnih sisavaca u kontinentalnim šumama Hrvatske
Mirna Mihelčić, Josipa Habuš, Marko Vucelja, Petra Svoboda, Ivan-Christian Kurolt, Alemka Markotić, Nenad Turk, Josip Margaletić, Marina Šantić
Francisella tularensisis is a causative agent of tularemia a zoonotic disease that infects wide range of hosts including arthropods, mammals and birds. In this study, the prevalence of tularemia among small mammals in Croatia was investigated. The 444 samples of small rodents and insectivores were collected in eight different localities in continental Croatia during the 2-year study. Spleen samples of: 197 Apodemus agrarius (striped field mouse), 78 Apodemus sylvaticus (wood mouse), 92 Apodemus flavicollis (yellow-necked mouse), 17 Myodes glareolus (bank vole), 27 Mycrotus agrestis (field vole), 20 Microtus arvalis (common vole) and 13 Sorex araneus (common shrew) were investigated for the presence of DNA of Francisella spp. using qRT-PCR method. Two striped field mouses and one wood mouse, originated from the same area - locality of Lipovljani, were found to be positive on Francisella spp. revealing the presence of bacteria among small mammals population in Croatia.
Key words: Francisella; Tularemia; DNA; Small rodents; Insectivores; Reservoirs; Endemic areas; Croatia; Prevalence.
Francisella tularensis is an etiologic agent of zoonotic disease tularemia. Because of its high infectivity, ease of dissemination, extremely low infectious dose andhigh fatality rate,the bacterium has been classified as a potential bioterrorism weapon (Tier 1 select agent)(Kingry and Petersen, 2014). Currently no prophylactic vaccine against tularemia is available. Two subspecies of F. tularensis are of clinical importance for humans: F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (Type A)