Molecular Survey of Tularemia and Plague in Small Mammals From Iran.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2018 10;8:215. Epub 2018 Jul 10.

Department of Clinical Microbiology and the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Plague and tularemia are zoonoses and their causative bacteria are circulating in certain regions of Iran. This study was conducted to investigate potential disease reservoirs amongst small wildlife species in different regions of Iran. Rodents, insectivores and hares from 17 different provinces of the country were collected in 2014 and 2015. Samples were taken from the spleens of the animals and Real-time PCR was applied to detect nucleic acid sequences that are specific to and , respectively. Among 140 collected rodents, 25 distinct species were identified out of which five were the most common: (21% out of 140 rodents), (12%), (11%), (11%) and (10%). Seventeen insectivores were collected and identified as (82%) and (18%). Fifty-one hares were collected and identified as (57%), (14%) and sp. (29%). Three out of 140 explored rodents (1.91%) were positive for , an , a , and a collected from Golestan, Khuzestan and Razavi Khorasan provinces, respectively. Two hares (3.92%) were -positive, a from Khuzestan and a sp. from the Sistan and Baluchistan province. None of the tested animals were positive for . This is the first report of direct detection of in mammals of Iran and the first-time observation of the agent in a snow vole, worldwide. The results indicate that tularemia is more widespread in Iran than previously reported including the Northeast and Southwestern parts of the country. Future studies should address genetic characterization of positive DNA samples from Iran to achieve molecular subtyping and rule out assay cross-reactivity with near neighbor species.

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