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Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Jul;14(7):1097-104. doi: 10.3201/eid1407.070880.

Wide distribution of a high-virulence Borrelia burgdorferi clone in Europe and North America.

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1
Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, New York, USA.

Abstract

The A and B clones of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, distinguished by outer surface protein C (ospC) gene sequences, are commonly associated with disseminated Lyme disease. To resolve phylogenetic relationships among isolates, we sequenced 68 isolates from Europe and North America at 1 chromosomal locus (16S-23S ribosomal RNA spacer) and 3 plasmid loci (ospC,dbpA, and BBD14). The ospC-A clone appeared to be highly prevalent on both continents, and isolates of this clone were uniform in DNA sequences, which suggests a recent trans-oceanic migration. The genetic homogeneity of ospC-A isolates was confirmed by sequences at 6 additional chromosomal housekeeping loci (gap, alr, glpA, xylB, ackA, and tgt). In contrast, the ospC-B group consists of genotypes distinct to each continent, indicating geographic isolation. We conclude that the ospC-A clone has dispersed rapidly and widely in the recent past. The spread of the ospC-A clone may have contributed, and likely continues to contribute, to the rise of Lyme disease incidence.

PMID:
18598631
PMCID:
PMC2600328
DOI:
10.3201/eid1407.070880
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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