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J Clin Microbiol. 2019 Aug 26;57(9). pii: e00628-19. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00628-19. Print 2019 Sep.

Antibodies to Borrelia turicatae in Experimentally Infected Dogs Cross-React with Borrelia burgdorferi Serologic Assays.

Author information

1
Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA jenna.gettings@uga.edu.
2
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
3
Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
4
Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
5
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) is caused by several Borrelia spp. (including Borrelia turicatae), which are primarily transmitted by Ornithodoros ticks. Relapsing fever group species are found worldwide, except for Antarctica. Approximately 500 human cases were reported between 1990 and 2011 in the United States (likely an underestimate), while cases in domestic and wild dogs were reported from Florida, Texas, and Washington. TBRF spirochetes are related to Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme borreliosis. Dogs are routinely screened for B. burgdorferi, but it is unknown if infection with TBRF agents produces antibodies cross-reactive with B. burgdorferi assays. These data are critical for accurate surveillance of TBRF and Lyme borreliosis in dogs. In this study, B. burgdorferi-negative dogs were inoculated with B. turicatae, and seroconversion was confirmed by the rBipA (recombinant Borrelia immunogenic protein A) Western blot. Seropositive samples were tested with commercial and veterinary diagnostic laboratory B. burgdorferi-based tests. Borrelia turicatae-seroreactive samples cross-reacted with a whole-cell indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test and two multiantigen tests, but not with single-antigen tests using C6. Cross-reactivity with TBRF can confound epidemiology and surveillance efforts and confuse recommendations made by veterinarians for prevention and control. These findings demonstrate the need to critically evaluate results from B. burgdorferi diagnostic tests in the context of the assay type and the animal's geographical location and history of travel, as well as highlighting the need for commercially available specific diagnostic tests for TBRF spirochetes.

KEYWORDS:

Borrelia burgdorferi ; Borrelia turicatae ; Lyme borreliosis; tick-borne relapsing fever

PMID:
31270181
PMCID:
PMC6711897
[Available on 2020-02-26]
DOI:
10.1128/JCM.00628-19

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