Background: The epidemiology of the zoonotic tick-transmitted parasite Babesia spp. and its occurrence in wild reservoir hosts in Sweden is unclear. In European deer, several parasite species, including Babesia capreoli and the zoonotic B. venatorum and B. divergens has been reported previously. The European roe deer, Capreolus capreolus, is an important and common part of the indigenous fauna in Europe, as well as an important host for Ixodes ricinus ticks, the vector of several Babesia spp. in Europe. Here, we aimed to investigate the occurrence of Babesia spp. in roe deer in Sweden. Findings: Roe deer (n = 77) were caught and sampled for blood. Babesia spp. was detected with a PCR assay targeting the 18S rRNA gene. The prevalence of Babesia spp. was 52 %, and two species were detected; B. capreoli and B. venatorum in 44 and 7.8 % of the individuals, respectively. Infection occurred both in summer and winter. Conclusions: We showed that roe deer in Sweden, close to the edge of their northern inland distributional range, are infected with Babesia spp. The occurrence of B. venatorum in roe deer imply that it is established in Sweden and the zoonotic implication of this finding should be regarded to a greater extent in future.
2016. Vol. 9, 221