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Med Vet Entomol. 2004 Sep;18(3):228-31.

Borreliae in Ixodes ricinus ticks feeding on humans.

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Medical Zoology Laboratory, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences, Valtice, Czech Republic.


A total of 298 Ixodes ricinus (L.) ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) feeding on humans in the Czech Republic were tested for borreliae (Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato) by darkfield microscopy between 1997 and 2003. A majority (68%) of the supplied I. ricinus ticks were nymphs, 25% were females and 7% were larvae. Overall, 20% of 74 examined females and 9% of 203 examined nymphs (but none of 21 examined larvae) were infected with borreliae. The proportion of ticks with a high infection load (>100 spirochetes) was 4% in females and 2% in nymphal I. ricinus. During the year, the highest numbers and proportions of infected nymphal and female ticks were taken from humans in June. Detection of borreliae in the ticks feeding on humans might be helpful in the prophylaxis of Lyme borreliosis.

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