First report of lyme disease spirochetes in ticks from Romania (Sibiu County)
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We examined 200 questing Ixodes ricinus ticks (nymphs and adults) collected in three different sites in Sibiu County, Romania by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by reverse line blot (RLB) for Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.. We detected the bacteria in 19% of the investigated ticks. The prevalence of infection was higher in nymphs (27%) than in adults (12%). Two B. burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies were detected: B. garinii (20%) and B. afzelii (80%). We did not detect any mixed infections in the investigated ticks. In two of the investigated sites B. burgdorferi prevalence values were comparable (25%), while in the third site the prevalence was lower (≈7%). Our preliminary study provides evidence that Lyme disease spirochetes are present in various areas and at a relatively high prevalence in their vectors, thus posing a risk of infection to human subjects that undergo work or leisure activities in those areas.
KeywordsBorrelia burgdorferi sensu lato Ixodes ricinus Ticks Lyme disease PCR-RLB Romania
This publication was partially funded by EU grant GOCE-2003-010284 EDEN and is catalogued by the EDEN Steering Committee as EDEN0189 (www.eden-fp6project.net). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. This study is part of the PhD thesis from one of the authors. The authors warmly thank Dr. Lise Gern and Olivier Rais from the Institut of Zoology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, for their precious help.
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