Detection and genotyping of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Ixodes ricinus ticks collected in Lithuania

Abstract number: 1733_1340

Ambrasiene D., Paulauskas A., Turcinaviciene J.

Lyme borreliosis is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in humans and domestic animals. The Ixodes ricinus ticks are well known as major vector of the causative agents of Lyme borreliosis and others infections diseases. In Europe, Lyme borreliosis is associated with three genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato: B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. garinii and B. afzelii. These species can cause distinct clinical manifestations of Lyme disease. B. burgdorferi s.s. can cause arthritis, B. garinii serious neurological manifestations and B. afzelii a distinctive skin condition known as acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans. I. ricinus is a widely distributed tick in Lithuania and may transmit pathogens to mammalian hosts, including human beings.

The aim of this study: to genotype B. burgdorferi genospecies in I. ricinus ticks and to determinate dominant Borrelia genospecies by molecular genetics methods.

Methods: More than 2000 I. ricinus ticks were collected by the flagging method in Lithuania. Examination of ticks (n = 1679) for the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. DNA was performed by PCR with fla gene specific primers. For Borrelia genotyping (B. burgdorferi s.s., B. garinii and B. afzelii) were used multiplex PCRs with genospecies-specific primers.

Results: The overall prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l. was 13.3% (223/1679). 190 samples positive for B. burgdorferi s.l. were used for genotyping. B. afzelii was found in 141 ticks (74%), B. garinii in 19 (10%), B. burgdorferi s.s. in 14 (7%). Double infections were observed in 1% of the infected ticks, other 14 samples (7%) of the Borrelia infections were non typed.

Conclusions: The molecular tools allow identifying different Borrelia genospecies which can be maintained in nature and are important for pathogenesis, diagnostic and preventative implications. It was detected B. afzelii was the dominant genospecies in Lithuanian ticks. Prevalence of genospecies is similar to neighbour country Latvia (B. afzelii 64.9%), but different from western Germany (B. afzelii 39.9%) and Slovakia and Southern Poland, where B. garinii is predominant genospecies (45.5%). It is necessary to have a closer look at the local vertebrate biocenosis in epidemiological studies of Lyme borreliosis, because reservoir host population is to be held responsible for special distribution of certain genospecies.

This study was supported by ENLINO (Environmental Studies in Lithuania and Norway) and the Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation.

Session Details

Date: 31/03/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: ICC, Munich, Germany
Presentation type:
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