Bm & TBI’s in NY State

Detection of Borrelia miyamotoi and other tick-borne pathogens in human clinical specimens and Ixodes scapularis ticks in New York State, 2012-2015.

Wroblewski D, Gebhardt L, Prusinski MA, Meehan LJ, Halse TA, Musser KA.

Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, online first, 2017 Jan 16. pii: S1877-959X(17)30015-8.


Borrelia miyamotoi (Bm) is a recently emerging bacterial agent transmitted by several species of ixodid ticks. Diagnosis of Bm infection can be challenging, as the organism is not easily cultivable.

We have developed and validated a multiplex real-time PCR to simultaneously identify Bm infection and the agents causing human granulocytic anaplasmosis and human monocytic ehrlichiosis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia chaffeensis, respectively. The assay is 100% specific; highly sensitive, detecting 11 gene copies of Bm DNA in both whole blood and cerebral spinal fluid; and provides rapid results in less than two hours.

A retrospective study of 796 clinical specimens collected between the years 2012 and 2014 and a prospective study of 366 clinical specimens were performed utilizing this novel assay to evaluate the frequency of Bm infection in New York State (NYS). Eight clinical specimens (1%) were found to be positive for Bm, 216 were positive for A. phagocytophilum, and 10 were positive for E. chaffeensis.

Additionally, we tested 411 I. scapularis ticks collected in NYS during 2013 and 2014 in a separate multiplex real-time PCR to determine the prevalence of Bm, A. phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi s.s., and Borrelia species. Our results indicated rates of 1.5%, 27%, 19.7%, and 8.8% respectively.

The ability to monitor both the frequency and geographic distribution of Bm cases and the prevalence and geographic distribution of Bm in ticks will help create a better understanding of this emerging tick-borne pathogen.