Serological detection of Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever in Texan domestic dogs

Esteve-Gasent MD, Snell CB, Adetunji SA, Piccione J.
/PLoS One/. 2017 Dec 12;12(12):e0189786. eCollection 2017.


Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is caused by spirochetes in the genus
/Borrelia/. Very limited information exists on the incidence of this
disease in humans and domestic dogs in the United States. The main
objective of this study is to evaluate exposure of dogs to /Borrelia
turicatae/, a causative agent of TBRF, in Texas.

To this end, 878 canine serum samples were submitted to Texas A&M
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory from October 2011 to September
2012 for suspected tick-borne illnesses. The recombinant Borrelial
antigen glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase (GlpQ) was expressed,
purified, and used as a diagnostic antigen in both ELISA assays and
Immunoblot analysis. Unfortunately, due to significant background
reaction, the use of GlpQ as a diagnostic marker in the ELISA assay was
not effective in discriminating dogs exposed to /B/. /turicatae/.
Nevertheless, immunoblot assays showed that 17 out of 853 samples tested
were considered to be seropositive, which constitutes 1.99% of all Texas
samples tested in this study.

The majority of positive samples were from central and southern Texas.
Exposure to TBRF spirochetes may be seasonal, with 70.59% (12 out of 17)
of the cases detected between June and December. In addition, 2 out of
the 17 sero-reactive cases (11.76%) showed reactivity to both /B/.
/burgdorferi/ (causative agent of Lyme disease) and /B/. /turicatae/ (a
causative agent of TBRF).

This is the first report of TBRF sero-prevalence in companion animals in
an endemic area. Our findings further indicate that /B/. /turicatae/ is
maintained in domestic canids in Texas in regions where human disease
also occurs, suggesting that domestic dogs could serve as sentinels for
this disease.



I predict much more to come.  Texan Lyme/MSIDS patients – we stand with you.

For a must-read important history about the South’s fight to be recognized as having tick borne illness:

People in the South are commonly denied treatment:

And Texans have had enough of the denial and are taking action:

“Remember the Alamo!”