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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Oct 29;12(10):e0006877. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006877. eCollection 2018 Oct.

Seroprevalence for the tick-borne relapsing fever spirochete Borrelia turicatae among small and medium sized mammals of Texas.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
2
Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, United States of America.
4
Texas State Guard, Medical Brigade, Uvalde, Texas, United States of America.
5
Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis, El Paso, Texas, United States of America.
6
Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis, Midland, Texas, United States of America.
7
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In low elevation arid regions throughout the southern United States, Borrelia turicatae is the principal agent of tick-borne relapsing fever. However, endemic foci and the vertebrate hosts involved in the ecology of B. turicatae remain undefined. Experimental infection studies suggest that small and medium sized mammals likely maintain B. turicatae in nature, while the tick vector is a long-lived reservoir.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Serum samples from wild caught rodents, raccoons, and wild and domestic canids from 23 counties in Texas were screened for prior exposure to B. turicatae. Serological assays were performed using B. turicatae protein lysates and recombinant Borrelia immunogenic protein A (rBipA), a diagnostic protein that is unique to RF spirochetes and may be a species-specific antigen.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Serological responses to B. turicatae were detected from 24 coyotes, one gray fox, two raccoons, and one rodent from six counties in Texas. These studies indicate that wild canids and raccoons were exposed to B. turicatae and are likely involved in the pathogen's ecology. Additionally, more work should focus on evaluating rodent exposure to B. turicatae and the role of these small mammals in the pathogen's maintenance in nature.

PMID:
30372445
PMCID:
PMC6224114
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pntd.0006877
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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