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J Med Entomol. 1996 Jan;33(1):189-92.

Efficient transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi between cofeeding Ixodes ricinus ticks (Acari: Ixodidae).

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Institut de Zoologie, Universite de Neuchatel, Switzerland.


Feeding ticks are generally spatially distributed in clusters on vertebrate hosts. To test the effect of clustering on transmission of a tick-borne pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner-infected Ixodes ricinus L. nymphs and uninfected I. ricinus larvae were allowed to feed together in retaining chambers on uninfected AKR/N mice. Engorged infective nymphs dropped off at days 5, 6, and 7, and the 1st infected larvae that fed in the chambers together with the infected nymphs dropped off at day 5. In contrast, ear biopsies and xenodiagnostic larvae placed on the head remained negative during that period. These results suggest that a cofeeding transmission occurred between B. burgdorferi-infected ticks and noninfected ones in the absence of a disseminated infection. Further investigations are being undertaken to determine whether the mechanism responsible for this cofeeding transmission is similar to that described previously with virus-infected ticks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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