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J Wildl Dis. 2013 Apr;49(2):294-302. doi: 10.7589/2012-06-172.

Serum antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia microti in recaptured white-footed mice.

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Center for Vector Biology and Zoonotic Diseases, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, CT 06504, USA.


A mark-release-recapture study was conducted during 2007 through 2010 in six, tick-infested sites in Connecticut, United States to measure changes in antibody titers for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia microti in Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mice). There was an overall recapture rate of 40%, but only four tagged mice were caught in ≥2 yr. Sera from 561 mice were analyzed for total antibodies to B. burgdorferi and A. phagocytophilum by using whole-cell or recombinant (VlsE or protein 44) antigens in a solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or to whole-cell B. microti by indirect fluorescent antibody staining. Antibody prevalences were highly variable for B. burgdorferi (from 56% to 98%), A. phagocytophilum (from 11% to 85%), and B. microti (from 11% to 84%) depending on the site and time of sampling. Of 463 mice with antibodies, 206 (45%) had antibodies to all three pathogens. Changes in antibody status for some mice from negative to positive (117 seroconversions) or from positive to negative (55 reversions) were observed. Seroconversions were observed in 10.1% of 417 mice for B. burgdorferi, 18.0% of 306 mice for A. phagocytophilum, and 6.6% of 304 mice for B. microti; reversion rates were 5.3, 5.9, and 4.9%, respectively. Antibodies to all pathogens persisted in some mice over several weeks while, in others, there were marked declines in titration end points to negative status. The latter may indicate elimination of a certain pathogen, such as A. phagocytophilum, or that mouse immune systems ceased to produce antibodies despite an existing patent infection.

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