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Med Vet Entomol. 2005 Mar;19(1):90-5.

Borreliacidal activity of saliva of the tick Amblyomma americanum.

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Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA.


Amblyomma americanum (Linneaus) (Acari: Ixodidae), an important tick vector of human and animal disease, is not a competent vector of the bacterial agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, although its range overlaps the geographical distribution of Lyme disease within the United States. A possible mechanism that could prevent acquisition of B. burgdorferi spirochetes from infected hosts is the toxic effect of A. americanum saliva on B. burgdorferi. The data presented here indicate that after 24 and 48 h of exposure to A. americanum saliva, significantly fewer B. burgdorferi were alive compared to treatment controls as assessed by spirochete motility under dark-field microscopy and resistance to the dead stain, propidium iodide. After 48 h, fewer than 13% of saliva-exposed B. burgdorferi were alive. In contrast, significantly more B. burgdorferi exposed to Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) saliva survived after 24 or 48 h compared to A. americanum saliva or treatment controls.

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