New hosts for the miteOrnithonyssus bursain Argentina

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Abstract.The mite Ornithonyssus bursa (Berlese) (Mesostigmata: Macronyssidae) is considered a poultry pest causing important infestations in chickens and it is considered a potential vector of arbovirus. Despite being considered a common parasite in wild birds, there is scarce published information about its potential hosts and effects on them. Here we present new bird hosts for O. bursa, assess the presence of Alphavirus, Flavivirus and Bunyavirus in mites from three host species, and discuss its potential impact on wild bird populations. We found O. bursa infecting five raptor and six passerine wild bird species. For nine of these species, this is the first record of infection by O. bursa. Although all analysed mites were negative for the examined arboviruses, the small sample size of mites does not allow further conclusions at the present moment. Because of the general nature of this ectoparasite, its presence in migratory long dispersal and endangered bird species, and the seropositivity for arboviruses in some of the species studied here, we consider it critical to assess the role of O. bursa and other ectoparasites as vectors and reservoirs of pathogens and as potential deleterious agents in wild bird populations.

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