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Parasit Vectors. 2016 Feb 20;9:97. doi: 10.1186/s13071-016-1389-5.

Larvae of Ixodes ricinus transmit Borrelia afzelii and B. miyamotoi to vertebrate hosts.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, PO box 16, 6700, AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands. gilian.vanduijvendijk@wur.nl.
2
Laboratory for Zoonosis and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. elena.coipan@wur.nl.
3
Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. a.wagemakers@amc.uva.nl.
4
Laboratory for Zoonosis and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. manoj.fonville@rivm.nl.
5
Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. j.i.ersoz@amc.uva.nl.
6
Department of Medical Microbiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. g.a.oei@amc.uva.nl.
7
Department of Parasitology and Zoology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, SzentIstvan University, Budapest, Hungary. FoldvariGabor@gmx.de.
8
Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. j.w.hovius@amc.uva.nl.
9
Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, PO box 16, 6700, AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands. willem.takken@wur.nl.
10
Laboratory for Zoonosis and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. hein.sprong@rivm.nl.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Lyme borreliosis is the most common tick-borne human disease and is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.). Borrelia miyamotoi, a relapsing fever spirochaete, is transmitted transovarially, whereas this has not been shown for B. burgdorferi (s.l). Therefore, B. burgdorferi (s.l) is considered to cycle from nymphs to larvae through vertebrates. Larvae of Ixodes ricinus are occasionally B. burgdorferi (s.l) infected, but their vector competence has never been studied.

METHODS:

We challenged 20 laboratory mice with field-collected larvae of I. ricinus. A subset of these larvae was analysed for infections with B. burgdorferi (s.l) and B. miyamotoi. After three to four challenges, mice were sacrificed and skin and spleen samples were analysed for infection by PCR and culture.

RESULTS:

Field-collected larvae were naturally infected with B. burgdorferi (s.l) (0.62%) and B. miyamotoi (2.0%). Two mice acquired a B. afzelii infection and four mice acquired a B. miyamotoi infection during the larval challenges.

CONCLUSION:

We showed that larvae of I. ricinus transmit B. afzelii and B. miyamotoi to rodents and calculated that rodents have a considerable chance of acquiring infections from larvae compared to nymphs. As a result, B. afzelii can cycle between larvae through rodents. Our findings further imply that larval bites on humans, which easily go unnoticed, can cause Lyme borreliosis and Borrelia miyamotoi disease.

PMID:
26896940
PMCID:
PMC4761128
DOI:
10.1186/s13071-016-1389-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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