Prevalence of Borrelia miyamotoi in Ixodes Ticks in Europe and the United States

Chris D. Crowder, Heather E. Carolan, Megan A. Rounds, Vaclav Honig, Benedikt Mothes, Heike Haag,
Oliver Nolte, Ben J. Luft, Libor Grubhoffer, David J. Ecker, Steven E. Schutzer, and Mark W. Eshoo

Abstract

Borrelia miyamotoi, a relapsing fever-related spirochete transmitted by Ixodes ticks, has been recently shown to be a human pathogen. To characterize the prevalence of this organism in questing Ixodes ticks, we tested 2,754 ticks for a variety of tickborne pathogens by PCR and electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry.

Ticks were collected from California, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Indiana in the United States and from Germany and the Czech Republic in Europe from 2008 through 2012. In addition, an isolate from Japan was characterized. We found 3 distinct genotypes, 1 for North America, 1 for Europe, and 1 for Japan. We found B. miyamotoi infection in ticks in 16 of the 26 sites surveyed, with infection prevalence as high as 15.4%.

These results show the widespread distribution of the pathogen, indicating an exposure risk to humans in areas where Ixodes ticks reside.

http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2010.131583

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