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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Apr;10(3):217-21. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0036.

Assessment of polymicrobial infections in ticks in New York state.

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  • 1Center for Infection and Immunity, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Ixodes scapularis ticks are clinically important hematophagous vectors. A single tick bite can lead to a polymicrobial infection. We determined the prevalence of polymicrobial infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan virus in 286 adult ticks from the two counties in New York State where Lyme disease is endemic, utilizing a MassTag multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay. Seventy-one percent of the ticks harbored at least one organism; 30% had a polymicrobial infection. Infections with three microbes were detected in 5% of the ticks. One tick was infected with four organisms. Our results show that coinfection is a frequent occurrence in ticks in the two counties surveyed.

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