Detection and analysis of Babesia species from ticks recovered from dogs in Japan were attempted by PCR and nucleotide sequence analysis based on the 18S rRNA gene, respectively. A total of 1,136 ticks were examined for Babesia DNA by 18S rRNA-based PCR and nucleotide sequencing. Partial sequences of Babesia canis vogeli DNA were detected from six ticks in Aomori, Nara, Hiroshima, Oita, and Okinawa Prefectures; and Babesia gibsoni Asia-1 DNA was also detected in four ticks in Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyazaki, and Okinawa Prefectures. Unique sequences of 1,678 bp were also obtained from Ixodes ovatus ticks in Akita and Fukui Prefectures. The sequences were similar to those of Babesia odocoilei (97.7%) and Babesia divergens (97.6%). This is the first report of the detection of DNA belonging to this group in Japan.
Following the description in Japan of Japanese spotted fever, caused by Rickettsia japonica, a search for the vector of this disease led to the isolation of several rickettsiae from various tick species. Sixty-three rickettsial isolates were obtained from six different tick species, and six type strains were described by PCR and monoclonal antibody testing. We identified these six strains by amplification and sequencing of the genes encoding 16S rRNA and citrate synthase. We confirmed that the isolates from Dermacentor taiwanensis and Haemaphysalis flava ticks were R. japonica isolates. In Ixodes ovatus, Ixodes persulcatus, and Ixodes monospinosus, we identified a Rickettsia identical or closely related to Rickettsia helvetica, a species that is pathogenic for humans and that to date has only been found in Europe. Finally, we identified a new genotype of unknown pathogenicity, genotype AT, that was isolated from Amblyomma testudinarium ticks and that is closely related to a Slovakian genotype obtained from Ixodes ricinus ticks.
Babesia microti-like parasites were detected for the first time in Ixodes ovatus in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, where two reported types of B. microti-like parasites were recognized in many rodents. Of 80 adult I. ovatus ticks collected, 5 possessed the reported type and 1 possessed a new type of B. microti-like parasite.
Ixodes persulcatus serves as a tick vector for Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii in Japan; however, unidentified spirochetes have been isolated from other species of ticks. In this study, 13 isolates from ticks (6 from Ixodes tanuki, 6 from Ixodes turdus, and 1 from Ixodes columnae) and 3 isolates from voles (Clethrionomys rufocanus) were characterized by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, rRNA gene restriction fragment length polymorphism, partial sequencing of the outer surface protein C (OspC) gene, whole DNA-DNA hybridization, and 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison. All of the results revealed that these Borrelia strains clearly represent at least two new species. A third is also likely, although additional strains have to be isolated and characterized before a separate species is designated. We designated all isolates of I. tanuki and C. rufocanus as group Hk501 and all isolates of I. turdus as group Ya501. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences distinguished these Borrelia strains from those belonging to hitherto known Borrelia species. Furthermore, the genomic groups, each with its own tick vectors with enzootic cycles, were quite different from each other and also from those of Lyme disease Borrelia species known to occur in Japan. The results of 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison suggest that the strain Am501 from I. columnae is related to group Hk501, although its level of DNA relatedness is less than 70%.
We report the results of a study of the prevalences of three clinically relevant Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii) in 1,040 questing Ixodes ticks from all regions of Latvia, where Lyme borreliosis is endemic. The prevalences of Borrelia in Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus were 22.6 and 27.9%, respectively. Molecular typing of B. burgdorferi from infected ticks was performed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of PCR-amplified fragments of the 16S-23S (rrs-rrlA) rRNA intergenic spacer by using species-specific primers and subsequent sequencing. The dominant Borrelia species in both Ixodes species was B. afzelii. In addition, different restriction patterns of B. garinii and B. afzelii were also identified. This study demonstrates that the 16S-23S rRNA PCR-RFLP typing method is simple, sensitive, and fast and that it allows one to differentiate among B. burgdorferi species and subspecies with various degrees of pathogenic potential directly in ticks. These features are important in monitoring Lyme disease.
We report Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection of Ixodes persulcatus and I. ovatus ticks in Japan. Unique p44/msp2 paralogs (and/or 16S rRNA genes) were detected in tick tissues, salivary glands, and spleens of experimentally infected mice. These findings indicate the public health threat of anaplasmosis in Japan.
Anaplasma phagocytophilum; anaplasmosis; Ixodes; Japan; p44 protein; 16S ribosomal RNA; dispatch
In order to investigate the possible role of Ixodes ricinus as a vector of zoonotic Babesia microti infection in Europe, a European rodent isolate (HK) and a zoonotic American isolate (GI) were studied in transmission experiments. PCR detected B. microti in the blood and spleens of infected gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) and also in laboratory-induced infections of I. ricinus ticks. B. microti DNA was detected by PCR in all pooled samples of nymphs and the majority of adults that had fed as larvae and nymphs, respectively, on gerbils with acute infection of the European isolate, confirming that I. ricinus could serve as a vector in Europe. The American isolate, GI, proved to be equally infective for larval and nymphal I. ricinus as the HK strain, despite a very different appearance in gerbil erythrocytes. Nymphs infected with the HK and GI strains readily infected gerbils. In contrast to the finding in acute infections, ticks that fed on gerbils with chronic infections of HK and GI did not become infected. It was also found that the HK strain was not transmitted transovarially. The finding that a B. microti strain (GI) from a distant geographical region (United States) can infect and be transmitted by I. ricinus suggests that other European B. microti strains, in addition to the HK strain used here, are probably infective for I. ricinus, supporting the view that infection of humans with European B. microti may be a regular occurrence.
Ixodes and Dermacentor ticks harbor Borrelia, Anaplasma/Ehrlichia, Bartonella, and Babesia species.
Ixodes persulcatus (n = 125) and Dermacentor reticulatus (n = 84) ticks from Western Siberia, Russia, were tested for infection with Borrelia, Anaplasma/Ehrlichia, Bartonella, and Babesia spp. by using nested polymerase chain reaction assays with subsequent sequencing. I. persulcatus ticks were infected with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (37.6% ± 4.3% [standard deviation]), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (2.4% ± 1.4%), Ehrlichia muris (8.8% ± 2.5%), and Bartonella spp. (37.6% ± 4.3%). D. reticulatus ticks contained DNA of B. burgdorferi sensu lato (3.6% ± 2.0%), Bartonella spp. (21.4% ± 4.5%), and Babesia canis canis (3.6% ± 2.0%). Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and their mixed infections were observed among I. persulcatus, whereas B. garinii NT29 DNA was seen in samples from D. reticulatus. Among the I. persulcatus ticks studied, no Babesia spp. were observed, whereas B. canis canis was the single subspecies found in D. reticulatus.
Ixodes persulcatus; Dermacentor reticulatus; Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; Ehrlichia muris; Bartonella; Babesia canis canis; nested PCR; sequencing; research
A total of 372 adult Ixodes persulcatus ticks were collected from vegetation in a forest area of Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China, where Lyme disease is known to be endemic. The ticks were examined for the presence of granulocytic ehrlichiae by heminested PCR with primers derived from the 16S rRNA gene. Of 310 ticks obtained from the Dahe forestry farm, two pools (each containing 5 ticks) were found positive, with a minimum infection rate of 0.6%. Ehrlichial DNA was also detected in one female (1.6%) of 62 ticks collected from the Yulin forestry farm. The overall minimum infection rate of the 372 I. persulcatus adults was 0.8%. The nucleotide sequences of 919-bp PCR products from the three positive tick specimens were identical to each other and very closely related to the members of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup. This is the first identification of granulocytic ehrlichiae in ticks in Asia and the first report of infection in I. persulcatus anywhere.
Borrelia sp. prevalence in ticks on migratory birds was surveyed in central Japan. In autumn, a total of 1,733 birds representing 40 species were examined for ticks. A total of 361 ticks were obtained from 173 birds of 15 species, and these ticks were immature Haemaphysalis flava (94.4%), Haemaphysalis longicornis, Ixodes columnae, Ixodes persulcatus, Ixodes turdus, and an unidentified Ixodes species. Of these, 27 juveniles of H. flava on Turdus pallidus, Turdus cardis, or Emberiza spodocephala, 2 juveniles of I. persulcatus on T. pallidus, and 1 female H. flava molted from a T. pallidus-derived nymph were positive for the presence of Borrelia by Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly culture passages. In spring, a total of 16 ticks obtained from 102 birds of 21 species were negative for the spirochete. Isolates from 15 ticks were characterized by 5S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis; all isolates were identified as Borrelia garinii with pattern B/B′ based on the previous patterning. According to the intergenic spacer sequences, 2 of 15 isolates, strains Fi14f and Fi24f, were highly similar to B. garinii strains 935T of Korea and ChY13p of Inner Mongolia, China, respectively. These findings indicate that Lyme disease-causing B. garinii may have been introduced to Japan by migratory birds from northeastern China via Korea. Additionally, a case of transstadial transmission of B. garinii from nymph to adult H. flava suggests that the infected H. flava may transmit Borrelia to large animals.
We have carried out epizootiologic surveys at various sites in Japan to investigate wild animals that serve as reservoirs for the agents of human babesiosis in the country. Small mammals comprising six species, Apodemus speciosus, Apodemus argenteus, Clethrionomys rufocanus, Eothenomys smithii, Crocidura dsinezumi, and Sorex unguiculatus, were trapped at various places, including Hokkaido, Chiba, Shiga, Hyogo, Shimane, and Tokushima Prefectures. Animals harboring Babesia microti-like parasites were detected in all six prefectures. Inoculation of their blood samples into hamsters gave rise to a total of 20 parasite isolates; 19 were from A. speciosus, and the other 1 was from C. rufocanus. Sequencing of the parasite small-subunit rRNA gene (rDNA) sequence revealed that 2 of the 20 isolates were classified as Kobe type because their rDNAs were identical to that of the Kobe strain (the strain from the Japanese index case). The other 18 isolates were classified as a new type, designated the Hobetsu type, because they all shared an identical rDNA sequence which differed significantly from both that of Kobe-type isolates and that of northeastern United States B. microti (U.S. type). The parasites with Kobe-, Hobetsu- and U.S.-type rDNAs were phylogenetically closely related to each other but clearly different from each other antigenically. The isolates from rodents were demonstrated to be infective for human erythrocytes by inoculation into SCID mice whose erythrocytes had been replaced with human erythrocytes. The results suggest that a new type of B. microti-like parasite, namely, the Hobetsu type, is the major one which is prevalent among Japanese wild rodents, that A. speciosus serves as a major reservoir for both Kobe- and Hobetsu-type B. microti-like parasites, and that C. rufocanus may also be an additional reservoir on Hokkaido Island.
Questing Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) adult and nymphal ticks collected in various parts of Slovenia were tested for the presence of babesial parasites with a PCR assay based on the nuclear small subunit rRNA gene (nss-ribosomal DNA [rDNA]). Thirteen of 135 ticks were found to contain babesial DNA. Sequence determination and analysis of amplified portions of nss-rDNA revealed their identity with Babesia microti and a high degree of homology with Babesia odocoilei and Babesia divergens. The results of this study represent the first genetic evidence of B. microti and B. divergens-like parasites in I. ricinus ticks in Europe.
Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by different species of intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites within the genus Babesia. Different species of Babesia are described as potentially zoonotic and cause a malaria-like disease mainly in immunocompromised humans. Interest in the zoonotic potential of Babesia is growing and babesiosis has been described by some authors as an emergent zoonotic disease. The role of cervids to maintain tick populations and act as a reservoir host for some Babesia spp. with zoonotic capability is suspected. To investigate the range and infection rate of Babesia species, ticks were collected from wild cervids in southern Belgium during 2008. DNA extraction was performed for individual ticks, and each sample was evaluated for the absence of PCR inhibition using a PCR test. A Babesia spp. genus-specific PCR based on the 18S rRNA gene was applied to validated tick DNA extracts. A total of 1044 Ixodes ricinus ticks were collected and 1023 validated samples were subsequently screened for the presence of Babesia spp. DNA. Twenty-eight tick samples were found to be positive and identified after sequencing as containing DNA representing: Babesia divergens (3), B. divergens-like (5), Babesia sp. EU1 (11), Babesia sp. EU1-like (3), B. capreoli (2), or unknown Babesia sp. (4). This study confirms the presence of potentially zoonotic species and Babesia capreoli in Belgium, with a tick infection rate of 2.7% (95% CI 1.8,3.9%). Knowledge of the most common reservoir source for transmission of zoonotic Babesia spp. will be useful for models assessing the risk potential of this infection to humans.
Babesia species; Belgium; Cervids; Tick; Zoonotic
In The Netherlands, the incidence of Lyme borreliosis is on the rise. Besides its causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., other potential pathogens like Rickettsia, Babesia and Ehrlichia species are present in Ixodes ricinus ticks. The risk of disease associated with these microorganisms after tick-bites remains, however, largely unclear. A prospective study was performed to investigate how many persons with tick-bites develop localized or systemic symptoms and whether these are associated with tick-borne microorganisms.
In total, 297 Ixodes ricinus ticks were collected from 246 study participants who consulted a general practitioner on the island of Ameland for tick bites. Ticks were subjected to PCR to detect DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., Rickettsia spp., Babesia spp. or Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp.. Sixteen percent of the collected ticks were positive for Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., 19% for Rickettsia spp., 12% for Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. and 10% for Babesia spp.. At least six months after the tick bite, study participants were interviewed on symptoms by means of a standard questionnaire. 14 out of 193 participants (8.3%) reported reddening at the bite site and 6 participants (4.1%) reported systemic symptoms. No association between symptoms and tick-borne microorganisms was found. Attachment duration ≥24 h was positively associated with reddening at the bite site and systemic symptoms. Using logistic regression techniques, reddening was positively correlated with presence of Borrelia afzelii, and having 'any symptoms' was positively associated with attachment duration.
The risk of contracting acute Lyme borreliosis, rickettsiosis, babesiosis or ehrlichiosis from a single tick bite was <1% in this study population.
Babesiosis is a zoonotic disease transmitted by the Ixodes tick species. Infection often results in sub-clinical manifestations; however, patients with this disease can become critically ill. Splenic rupture has been a previously reported complication of babesiosis, but treatment has always led to splenectomy. Asplenia places a patient at greater risk for overwhelming post-splenectomy infection from encapsulated bacteria, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia as well as Babesia microti. Therefore, avoiding splenectomy in these patients must be considered by the physician; particularly, if the patient is at risk for re-infection by living in an endemic area.
A 54 year-old male from the northeast United States presented with left upper quadrant abdominal pain associated with fever, chills, night sweats and nausea. A full evaluation revealed active infection with Babesia microti and multiple splenic lacerations. This patient was successfully treated with appropriate pharmacological therapy and non-operative observation for the splenic injury.
Patients diagnosed with Babesia microti infection are becoming more common, especially in endemic areas. Although clinical manifestations are usually minimal, this infection can present with significant injuries leading to critical illness. We present the successful non-operative treatment of a patient with splenic rupture due to babesiosis infection.
The presence and distribution of Ehrlichia spp. and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato was demonstrated among ixodid ticks collected in the Baltic regions of Russia, where Lyme borreliosis is endemic. A total of 3,426 Ixodes ricinus and 1,267 Ixodes persulcatus specimens were collected, and dark-field microscopy showed that 265 (11.5%) I. ricinus and 333 (26.3%) I. persulcatus ticks were positive. From these samples, 472 dark-field-positive and 159 dark-field-negative ticks were subjected to PCR and subsequent reverse line blot hybridization. Fifty-four ticks (8.6%) carried Ehrlichia species, and 4 (0.6%) carried ehrlichiae belonging to the Ehrlichia phagocytophila complex, which includes the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent. The E. phagocytophila complex and an Ehrlichia-like species were detected only in I. ricinus whereas Ehrlichia muris was found exclusively in I. persulcatus, indicating a possible vector-specific infection. Borrelia garinii was found predominantly in I. persulcatus, but Borrelia afzelii was evenly distributed among the two tick species. Only two I. ricinus ticks carried B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, while Borrelia valaisiana and a newly identified B. afzelii-like species were found in 1.7 and 2.5% of all ticks, respectively. Of the dark-field-positive ticks, only 64.8% yielded a Borrelia PCR product, indicating that dark-field microscopy may detect organisms other than B. burgdorferi sensu lato. These observations show that the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis may be present in ticks in the Baltic regions of Russia and that clinicians should be aware of this agent as a cause of febrile disease.
Ixodes ricinus ticks transmit Babesia species to vertebrate hosts. Using molecular tools we were able to detect the presence of this piroplasmid in its vector. The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence and identity of Babesia species in questing ticks collected in various areas of Norway.
DNA from questing l. ricinus ticks were examined with a realtime PCR for the presence of Babesia. Positive samples of tick DNA were identified to species using PCR, and sequence analysis.
From a total of 1908 questing l. ricinus ticks, 17 (0.9%) indicated the presence of Babesia spp. after realtime-PCR screening. Ixodes ricinus harbouring Babesia spp. was detected in 9 out of 22 localities. Further molecular analyses of DNA from these positive ticks indicate the presence of Babesia venatorum, B. divergens, B. capreoli and a currently undescribed Babesia in Norwegian ticks. The most prevalent was B. venatorum found in 71% of the positive ticks.
A total of 17 out of 1908 (0.9%) ticks were positive for Babesia. Our data confirm that there are several Babesia species in ticks in Norway. Babesia venatorum was the most prevalent. This species has a zoonotic potential and may cause human babesiosis following a tick bite.
Babesia spp; Questing Ixodes ricinus; Zoonosis; Piroplasmosis; Realtime PCR; Prevalence; Sequencing
Estonia is located in a unique area of co-distribution of Ixodes ricinus and I. persulcatus, which are the main tick vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. In the last decade, the incidence rate of Lyme borreliosis in Estonia has increased dramatically up to 115.4 per 100,000 in 2012. Here we present the first survey of the presence, the prevalence and genetic characteristics of B. burgdorferi s.l. complex spirochetes in the tick population in Estonia.
During the years 2006–2009, 2833 unfed Ixodes ricinus and I. persulcatus were collected from 43 sites in 7 counties in mainland Estonia as well as in 10 sites on the Saaremaa Island. DNA samples from ticks were analyzed individually using nested PCR of the ribosomal 5S-23S spacer region followed by bidirectional sequencing.
The overall estimated prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l was 9.7% and varied from 4.9% to 24.2% on the mainland and to 10.7% in Saaremaa Island. Ixodes persulcatus ticks showed significantly higher prevalence rates compared to that in I. ricinus-16.3% and 8.2%, respectively. The most prevalent genospecies was B. afzelii which was detected in 53.5% of Borrelia-positive ticks, followed by B. garinii and B. valaisiana with 26.2% and 5.5%, respectively. Also, B. bavariensis and B. burgdorferi s.s. DNA in single I. ricinus ticks were detected. Borrelia afzelii, B. garinii and B. valaisiana were detected in both tick species. Two genetic subgroups of B. garinii (NT29 and 20047) and two genetic subgroups of B. afzelii (NT28 and VS461) were found to be circulating in all studied regions as well as in both tick species, except B. garinii subgroup NT29, which was found only in I. persulcatus ticks.
In the current study we detected the circulation of five B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies and estimated the prevalence in ticks in different regions of Estonia. Detection and genetic characterization of Borrelia genospecies, especially those of public health importance, in the natural foci may help assessing high risk areas of human exposure to B. burgdorferi s.l.
Ticks; Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato; Ixodes; Lyme disease
Competence data will aid understanding of the spread of human babesiosis.
Human babesiosis is an increasing health concern in the northeastern United States, where the causal agent, Babesia microti, is spread through the bite of infected Ixodes scapularis ticks. We sampled 10 mammal and 4 bird species within a vertebrate host community in southeastern New York to quantify reservoir competence (mean percentage of ticks infected by an individual host) using real-time PCR. We found reservoir competence levels >17% in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), raccoons (Procyon lotor), short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda), and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), and <6% but >0% in all other species, including all 4 bird species. Data on the relative contributions of multiple host species to tick infection with B. microti and level of genetic differentiation between B. microti strains transmitted by different hosts will help advance understanding of the spread of human babesiosis.
Babesia microti; babesiosis; bacteria; disease reservoirs; ecology; Ixodes scapularis; Peromyscus; ticks; zoonoses; real-time PCR; competence; wildlife host species
Spirochete strains HP3 and HO14, isolated from Ixodes persulcatus and I. ovatus in Hokkaido in 1989, were the first isolates of Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiological agent of Lyme disease, to be recognized in Japan. Antigenic properties of the Japanese strains were compared with those of the strains isolated in the United States (B31 and 297) and Europe (IRS, P/Gau, P/Bi, 2/B45, and 3/B56) by Western blotting (immunoblotting), by using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against strains B31 and P/Bi. The Japanese strains reacted with MAb U40 against the 41-kDa antigen. MAb E34a31 against Osp A reacted with all the strains tested except for strain HP3. Furthermore, MAb U31b against Osp A reacted with all the American and European strains but did not react with the Japanese strains. When MAbs against Osp B were used, MAb E34b reacted only with European strains and MAb U34b reacted only with the American strains. However, neither showed reactivity to two Japanese strains. MAb E60 against 60-kDa antigen reacted with all the U.S. and European strains and strain HP3 but did not react with Japanese strain HO14. These results indicate that the antigenicity of the Japanese strains isolated from two species of ixodid ticks is different from that of the strains isolated in the United States and Europe. It is suggested that the Japanese strains are much more suitable than the U.S. or European strains as the antigen source for the serodiagnosis of Lyme disease in Japan.
In May 1999, field surveys of Lyme disease spirochetes were conducted around the Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern People's Republic of China. Ixodes persulcatus ticks were obtained in a Tianchi Lake valley with primary forest, while the tick fauna was poor in the semidesert or at higher altitudes in this region. Species identities were confirmed by molecular analysis in which an internal transcribed spacer sequence was used. Of 55 adult ticks, 22 (40%) were positive for spirochetes as determined by Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly culture passages. In addition, some rodents, including Apodemus uralensis (5 of 14 animals) and Cricetulus longicaudatus (the only animal examined), and some immature stages of I. persulcatus (4 of 11 ticks) that had fed on A. uralensis were positive for spirochetes. Based on 5S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and reactivity with monoclonal antibodies, 35 cultures (including double isolation cultures) were identified as Borrelia garinii (20 isolates, including 9 Eurasian pattern B isolates and 11 Asian pattern C isolates), Borrelia afzelii (10 pattern D isolates), and mixed cultures (5 cultures, including isolates that produced B. garinii patterns B and C plus B. afzelii pattern D). These findings revealed that Lyme disease pathogens are distributed in the mountainous areas in northwestern China even though it is an arid region, and they also confirmed the specific relationship between I. persulcatus and genetic patterns of Borrelia spp. on the Asian continent.
During the years 2008–2010 I. ricinus and I. persulcatus ticks were collected from 64 sites in mainland Estonia and on the island Saaremaa. Presence of B. miyamotoi was found in 0.9% (23/2622) of ticks. The prevalence in I. persulcatus and I. ricinus ticks differed significantly, 2.7% (15/561) and 0.4% (8/2061), respectively. The highest prevalence rates were in found South-Eastern Estonia in an area of I. persulcatus and I. ricinus sympatry and varied from 1.4% (1/73) to 2.8% (5/178). Co-infections with B. burgdorferi s.l. group spirochetes and tick-borne encephalitis virus were also revealed. Genetic characterization of partial 16S rRNA, p66 and glpQ genes demonstrated that Estonian sequences belong to two types of B. miyamotoi and cluster with sequences from Europe and the European part of Russia, as well as with sequences from Siberia, Asia and Japan, here designated as European and Asian types, respectively. Estonian sequences of the European type were obtained from I. ricinus ticks only, whereas the Asian type of B. miyamotoi was shown for both tick species in the sympatric regions.
Borrelia spirochetes were isolated from the adult ixodid tick (Ixodes persulcatus) in three areas of far eastern Russia, namely, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Borrelia infective rates of ticks in those areas were 24.5, 41.4, and 25.1%, respectively (total rate was 26.6%). Spirochetes were also isolated from the tissues of small mammals captured at Khabarovsk (infective rate was 20.8%). Samples were classified by rRNA gene restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. The isolated spirochetes from ticks were classified mainly RFLP ribotype group IV (B. garinii), followed by groups II (B. garinii), III (B. afzelii), and V (B. garinii), showing that B. garinii is a dominant species among them. Both B. garinii and B. afzelii were also found in rodents, and multiple infections with those two species were observed in some rodents. B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (group I) was not isolated from either ticks or rodents.
Borrelia spp. associated with Lyme disease possess an rRNA gene organization consisting of a single 16S rRNA gene followed by a spacer of several kilobases and a tandem repeat of a 23S (rrl)-5S (rrf) rRNA gene cluster. The restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns for these genes have been widely used to classify Lyme disease spirochete isolates. We analyzed the rRNA gene organization and sequences for two Ixodes ovatus isolates from Japan (IKA2 and HO14) and two group 21038 isolates associated with Ixodes dentatus ticks or rabbits from North America (isolates 21038 and 19857). This analysis revealed unique polymorphisms not previously described in other Lyme disease spirochete isolates. The molecular basis of these polymorphisms was determined by Southern blotting and PCR analyses. Only one continuous copy of the rrl-rrf gene cluster was identified in isolates IKA2, 19857, and 21038. The second rrl-rrf gene cluster is entirely absent from the IKA2 genome. In isolates 19857 and 21038, an intervening sequence is present, resulting in a fragment rrlB gene. The insertion site of this intervening sequence element differed in each isolate. While isolates 19857 and 21038 were found to carry a fragmented rrlB gene, they lacked rrfB. To determine if these rRNA polymorphisms were indicative of an underlying phylogenetic divergence, sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA (rrs) genes was conducted. The phylogenies inferred from rrs sequence analysis suggest that the polymorphisms resulted from recent mutational events.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti were isolated from 35 of 51 white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) captured on two Narragansett Bay, R.I., islands inhabited by deer, the principal host for the adult stages of the vector tick, Ixodes dammini. Immature ticks parasitized mice from both islands. From 105 mice captured on four other islands not inhabited by deer neither pathogen was isolated, nor were I. dammini found.