Friday, March 31, 2017

Fossilized Tick Carrying Pathogens in Mammalian Blood Cells Discovered in 15-Million-Year-Old Amber

by Entomology Today 

Ticks have been pathogen-carrying parasites for a very, very long time.  A new discovery in a specimen of fossilized amber, roughly 15 million to 20 million years old, reveals a tick encased adjacent to mammalian blood cells infected with microbes resembling those in the order Piroplasmida. Today, related pathogens are known to cause Babesiosis and Texas cattle fever. The research was published in March in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

The finding “shows that ticks have been vectoring protozoan pathogens for millions of years and that humans and other animals infected today with piroplasmic diseases like human Babesiosis, which is considered an emerging disease, acquired the pathogens from ticks feeding on wild mammals, especially monkeys,” says George Poinar, Ph.D., author of the research paper and an entomologist at Oregon State University. “It also shows that these pathogens had millions of years to perfect their infectivity and transmissibility, which makes them so difficult to control today.”   […] Read more of this post

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