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J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Dec; 33(12): 3091–3095.
PMCID: PMC228650

Simultaneous detection and genotyping of three genomic groups of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Dutch Ixodes ricinus ticks by characterization of the amplified intergenic spacer region between 5S and 23S rRNA genes.


We developed a rapid and reliable method for the identification Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato species in ticks. We used the DNA sequence polymorphism of the spacer region between 5S and 23S rRNA genes, which has been shown to be able to discriminate between eight genomic groups of B. burgdorferi sensu lato (D. Postic, M. Assous, P. A. D. Grimont, and G. Baranton, Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 44:743-752, 1994). Spacer DNA was amplified by PCR and was then hybridized to five membrane-bound oligonucleotides. The oligonucleotides were specific for B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and group VS116. A probe which reacted with all genomic groups of B. burgdorferi sensu lato was also used. Ninety-six ticks collected in the field were destructed by bead beating, and the supernatant was used directly in a PCR. B. burgdorferi sensu lato DNA was detected in 6 of 57 adult ticks (11%) and 9 of 39 nymphs (23%). B. garinii was found in three nymphs and four adults, three nymphs carried B. afzelii, and one adult and one nymph carried group VS116. Double infections with B. afzelii and group VS116 were found in two nymphs and one adult. Thus, our method can simultaneously identify three genomic groups of B. burgdorferi sensu lato in ticks collected in the field. This technique provides new ways to study the association of genomic groups present in ticks and the risk of Lyme borreliosis.

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Selected References

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