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Vet Sci. 2016;3(3). pii: 16. doi: 10.3390/vetsci3030016. Epub 2016 Aug 15.

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Spirochetes in the Americas.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, 77030 TX, USA.
Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, 77030 TX, USA.
Departamento de Investigación en Entomología Médica, Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, P.O. Box 816-02593, City of Panama, Panama.


Relapsing fever spirochetes are tick- and louse-borne pathogens that primarily afflict those in impoverished countries. Historically the pathogens have had a significant impact on public health, yet currently they are often overlooked because of the nonspecific display of disease. In this review, we discuss aspects of relapsing fever (RF) spirochete pathogenesis including the: (1) clinical manifestation of disease; (2) ability to diagnose pathogen exposure; (3) the pathogen's life cycle in the tick and mammal; and (4) ecological factors contributing to the maintenance of RF spirochetes in nature.


Borrelia; Ornithodoros; argasid; ixodid; relapsing fever spirochetes

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest. The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results.

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