Metagenomic profiles of Dermacentor tick pathogens from across Mongolia, using next generation sequencing

Doniddemberel Altantogtokh, Abigail A. Lilak, Ratree Takhampunya, Jira Sakolvaree, Nitima Chanarat, Graham Matulis, Betty Katherine Poole-Smith, Bazartseren Boldbaatar, Silas Davidson, Jeffrey Hertz, Buyandelger Bolorchimeg, Nyamdorj Tsogbadrakh, Jodi M. Fiorenzano, Erica J. Lindroth, Michael E. von Fricken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Tick-borne diseases are a major public health concern in Mongolia. Nomadic pastoralists, which make up ~ 26% of Mongolia’s population, are at an increased risk of both tick bite exposure and economic loss associated with clinical disease in herds. This study sought to further characterize tick-borne pathogens present in Dermacentor ticks (n = 1,773) sampled in 2019 from 15 of Mongolia’s 21 aimags (provinces). The ticks were morphologically identified and sorted into 377 pools which were then screened using Next-Generation Sequencing paired with confirmatory PCR and DNA sequence analysis. Rickettsia spp. were detected in 88.33% of pools, while Anaplasma spp. and Bartonella spp. were detected in 3.18 and 0.79% of pools, respectively. Khentii had the highest infection rate for Rickettsia spp. (76.61%; CI: 34.65–94.79%), while Arkhangai had the highest infection rate for Anaplasma spp. (7.79%; CI:4.04–13.72%). The exclusive detection of Anaplasma spp. in tick pools collected from livestock supports previous work in this area that suggests livestock play a significant role in disease maintenance. The detection of Anaplasma, Bartonella, and Rickettsia demonstrates a heightened risk for infection throughout Mongolia, with this study, to our knowledge, documenting the first detection of Bartonella melophagi in ticks collected in Mongolia. Further research deploying NGS methods is needed to characterize tick-borne pathogens in other endemic tick species found in Mongolia, including Hyalomma asiaticum and Ixodes persulcatus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number946631
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2022


  • Anaplasma
  • Bartonella
  • Dermacentor
  • Mongolia
  • next generation sequencing
  • Rickettsia
  • surveillance
  • tick-bome disease


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