First report of Borrelia miyamotoi in an Ixodes ricinus tick in Augsburg, Germany.

Page S, et al. Exp Appl Acarol. 2018.


Borrelia miyamotoi, a spirochete found in the hard tick Ixodes ricinus, is thought to cause relapsing fever. The disease caused by this bacterium can manifest with high fever, fatigue and other symptoms. It may also lead to central nervous system involvement with symptoms similar to meningoencephalitis. DNA from ticks from the greater Augsburg region in Germany was subjected to qPCR for Borrelia spp., followed by nested PCR and subsequent sequencing for species identification of the qPCR positive samples. From 112 ticks, 20 were found to be positive for Borrelia. The DNA sequenced showed 50% Borrelia afzelli, 15% Borrelia garinii, 5% Borrelia valaisiana and one sequence was identified as Borrelia miyamotoi. The positive identification of Borrelia miyamotoi is unlikely to be due to contamination. In conclusion, Borrelia miyamotoi has been found in a tick in the Augsburg region for the first time. This follows on from previous reports of a low incidence of this bacterium in southern Germany around Lake Constance and in the Munich region. This infectious agent should be taken into account when patients present with recurring fever or neurological symptoms which cannot be otherwise explained. Tick-borne relapsing fever should now be considered as a cause of such symptoms and medical professionals should contemplate differential Borrelia testing when presented with corresponding symptoms.