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Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Nov;24(11):2003-2009. doi: 10.3201/eid2411.172033. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

Detection of Tickborne Relapsing Fever Spirochete, Austin, Texas, USA.


In March 2017, a patient became febrile within 4 days after visiting a rustic conference center in Austin, Texas, USA, where Austin Public Health suspected an outbreak of tickborne relapsing fever a month earlier. Evaluation of a patient blood smear and molecular diagnostic assays identified Borrelia turicatae as the causative agent. We could not gain access to the property to collect ticks. Thus, we focused efforts at a nearby public park, <1 mile from the suspected exposure site. We trapped Ornithodoros turicata ticks from 2 locations in the park, and laboratory evaluation resulted in cultivation of 3 B. turicatae isolates. Multilocus sequencing of 3 chromosomal loci (flaB, rrs, and gyrB) indicated that the isolates were identical to those of B. turicatae 91E135 (a tick isolate) and BTE5EL (a human isolate). We identified the endemicity of O. turicata ticks and likely emergence of B. turicatae in this city.


Austin ; Borrelia turicatae ; Ornithodors turicata ; Texas ; United States ; bacteria ; borreliosis ; diagnosis ; elapsing fever spirochete ; relapsing fever ; spirochetes ; tick-borne infections ; ticks ; vector-borne infections ; zoonoses

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