Borrelia burgdorferi species isolated from different natural sources in Slovenia

Abstract number: 1733_1341

Zore A., Ruzic-Sabljic E., Strle F., Trilar T., Avsic-Zupanc T.

Objectives: Species of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex are differently disposed in nature. The aim of this study was to determinate Borrelia burgdorferi species in various natural sources: humans with Lyme borreliosis, vectors –Ixodes ricinus ticks found in woods or on birds, different reservoir animals: small mammals and birds.

Methods: We tested 103 Borrelia human strains isolated from skin, 148 free living ticks from the meadows or forests and 40 ticks removed from birds, 12 strains isolated from birds (skin or blood) and 141 urinary bladders from small mammals. For detection of Borrelia species we used direct methods: PCR or cultivation and determination with PFGE or RFLP of PCR products.

Results: In our human isolates we identified frequently B. afzelii (84%), rarely B. garinii (14%) and only exceptionally B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (1%) or B. spielmanii (less than 1%). From ticks collected from meadows or forests we determined with PCR most frequently B. garinii (56%), often together with B. afzelii (41%), rarely with B. garini and B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (32%). Engorged ticks from birds were infected most frequently with B. garinii, exceptionally with B. afzelii in only one species of birds (Prunella modularis). In birds we found also B. valaisiana in blackbird (Turdus merula) and in ticks on the blackbirds (53%). The most frequently infected birds species were blackbirds (50%). In this species we detected also mixed infections with B. garinii and B. valaisiana. B. valaisiana is probably not pathogenic species for human. We never isolated B. valaisiana from human specimens. In urinary bladders of small mammals we detected B. burgdorferi sensu lato in 60% of animals with PCR, frequently B. afzelii (39%), in almost the same frequency B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (33%) and only exceptionally in mixed infections B. garinii (8%). In isolates of B. burgdorferi from urinary bladder in small mammals we determinate with PFGE always only B. afzelii.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that different Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato species are adapted to specific reservoir species. PFGE or RFLP of PCR products are good tools for determination of different species of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato.

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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