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This study aimed to genetically characterize spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) in questing ixodid ticks from Israel and to identify risk factors associated with SFGR-positive ticks using molecular techniques and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis. 1039 ticks from the genus Rhipicephalus were collected during 2014. 109/1039 (10·49%) carried SFGR-DNA of either Rickettsia massiliae (95), ‘Candidatus Rickettsia barbariae’ (8) or Rickettsia conorii (6). Higher prevalence of SFGR was found in Rhipicephalus turanicus (18·00%) compared with Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (3·22%). Rickettsia massiliae was the most commonly detected species and the most widely disseminated throughout Israel (87·15% of all Rickettsia-positive ticks). GIS analysis revealed that Central and Northern coastal regions are at high risk for SFGR. The presence of ticks was significantly associated with normalized difference vegetation index and temperature variation over the course of the year. The presence of rickettsiae was significantly associated with brown type soils, higher land surface temperature and higher precipitation. The latter parameters may contribute to infection of the tick with SFGR. Health care professionals should be aware of the possible exposure of local communities and travellers to R. massillae. Molecular and geographical information can help professionals to identify areas that are susceptible to SFGR-infected ticks.
Dogs serve as hosts for a great number of parasites, which may affect their health and wellbeing. This study aimed to observe tick borne pathogens in dogs from Palestine including Hepatozoon canis and Babesia species. The prevalence of both H. canis and Babesia species infections in apparently healthy dogs, from ten districts of the West Bank was surveyed. DNA was extracted from blood samples obtained from dogs (n = 362) and ticks (n = 213) collected from dogs (n = 77). A primer set that amplifies a partial sequence of the Babesia and Hepatozoon 18S rRNA gene was used for PCR and the DNA sequences of the PCR products of all samples were determined. Twenty-nine (8·0%) of the dogs were found infected including 20 with H. canis (5·5%), seven with Babesia vogeli (1·9%) and two with undefined Babesia spp. (0·6%). Twelve Rhipicephalus sanguineus s.l ticks were pathogen-positive, including ten with H. canis (4·7%), one with B. vogeli (0·5%), and one with Hepatozoon felis (0·5%). The results indicated that a wide range of tick borne pathogens is circulating in the canine population in the surveyed region. This study is the first report on the prevalence of H. canis, B. vogeli and Babesia spp. in dogs in Palestine and its results will assist in the management of diseases associated with these blood parasites.
To utilize complementary biochemical and dietary data collected before the initiation of national flour fortification to (i) identify micronutrient insufficiencies or deficiencies and dietary inadequacies in Palestinian women and children in vulnerable communities and (ii) assess the suitability of the current wheat flour fortification formula.
Quantitative dietary intake questionnaires were administered and fasting venous blood samples collected in randomly selected households in Gaza City and Hebron. The impact of fortification was simulated by estimating the additional micronutrient content of fortified wheat flour.
Households in Gaza City and Hebron that were not receiving food aid from social programmes.
Non-pregnant women (18–49 years) and children aged 36–83 months.
The micronutrients with highest prevalence of insufficiency were vitamin D in women (84–97 % with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D <50 nmol/l) and vitamin B12 in women and children (43–82 % with serum B12 <221 pmol/l). Deficiencies of vitamin A, Fe and Zn were also of public health concern. Current levels of wheat flour fortificants were predicted to improve, but not eliminate, micronutrient intake inadequacies. Modification of fortificant concentrations of vitamin D, thiamin, vitamin B12, Zn and folic acid may be indicated.
Micronutrient insufficiencies or deficiencies and intake inadequacies were prevalent based on either biochemical or dietary intake criteria. Adjustments to the current fortification formula for wheat flour are necessary to better meet the nutrient needs of Palestinian women and children.