Genetic diversity of Anaplasma and Ehrlichia bacteria found in Dermacentor and Ixodes ticks in Mongolia

Michael E. von Fricken, Barbara A. Qurollo, Bazartseren Boldbaatar, Ya Wei Wang, Rui Ruo Jiang, Sukhbaatar Lkhagvatseren, Jeffrey W. Koehler, Thomas C. Moore, Pagbajab Nymadawa, Benjamin D. Anderson, Graham Matulis, Jia Fu Jiang, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Anaplasma and Ehrlichia are tick-borne bacterial pathogens that cause human granulocytic anaplasmosis, human monocytic ehrlichiosis, and are severe threats to livestock economies like Mongolia. In this study, ticks were collected, identified, and pooled (n = 299) from three distinct environments across central Mongolia. Each pool was initially tested for Anaplasma/Ehrlichia using a 16S rRNA PCR assay that detects both genera, and specific PCR testing was done to identify those positive samples. Maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) of infection rates of ticks collected from the environment in Selenge aimag (province) found infection rates of Ixodes persulcatus ticks to be 2.0% (95% CI: 0.7, 4.3%) for A. phagocytophilum and 0.8% (95% CI: 0.1, 2.5%) for both nonspecific Ehrlichia and Anaplasma. Ehrlichia muris was only detected in I. persulcatus ticks collected from the Selenge aimag, where the MLE was 1.2% (95% CI: 0.1, 2.5%). The calculated MLE infection rate of Anaplasma spp. in questing Dermacentor nuttalli ticks ranged from 1.9% (95% CI: 1.1, 9.1%) in the Tov aimag to 2.3% (95% CI: 1.3, 10.8%) in the Selenge aimag. However, when examining MLE in ticks removed from livestock, estimates increase substantially, ranging from 7.8% (95% CI: 4.2, 13.3%) in Dornogovi to 22.5% (95% CI: 14.3, 34.3%) in Selenge, suggesting that livestock play a key role in disease maintenance. Considering the collective economic losses that can result from these pathogens and the potential for illness in nomadic herdsmen, these results highlight the need for enhanced TBD surveillance and prevention measures within Mongolia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101316
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaplasma
  • Ehrlichia
  • Mongolia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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