Reclassification of Borrelia spp. isolated in South Korea using Multilocus Sequence Typing.

Park KH, et al. Jpn J Infect Dis. 2018.

Using Borrelia isolated from South Korea, we evaluated by MLST and three intergenic genes (16S rRNA, ospA, and 5S-23S IGS) typing to analyze the relationship between host and vector and molecular background. Using the MLST analysis, we identified B. afzelii, B. yangtzensis, B. garinii, and B. bavariensis. This study was first report of the identification of B. yangtzensis using the MLST in South Korea.



This recent paper: shows that the Borrelia genus is expanding and that there are “misfit” members that can not even be defined by conventional criteria.  The paper also discusses members that challenge the “existing dogma” that Lyme-disease inducing strains are transmitted by hard ticks, while relapsing fever-inducing spirochetes are transmitted by soft ticks.

This argument about soft-bodied ticks being able to transmit Lyme and/or a Lyme-like disease has been raging for decades:  This article states that out of 20 spirochete species from Borrelia burgdorferi  sensu lato (s..l.) complex recognized to date, a live spirochete strain found in the U.S. patient has revealed close relatedness to Borrelia bissetti.  The authors state that “the potential of B. bissettii to cause human disease, even if it is infrequent, is of importance for clinicians due to the extensive range of its geographic distribution.”  Yet, in the discussion the authors state that when B. bissetti was investigated in mice, it was sufficient to induce disease within the heart, femorotibial joint, and bladder.  European studies also suggest potential human disease as well.

The potential for human disease could be said about every single genusyet current testing tests for 1 strain from 1 spirochete from 1 lab tick.  See the problem here?  The other problem is that many researchers don’t even report “rare” cases of transmission as they feel them unimportant.  I was told this exact thing to my face.  All I could say was, “What if you happen to be the poor, sorry sucker that is that ONE “rare” case?  Does rare even matter when the potential is there?”  

Patients could very well be infected with pathogens that testing can’t even pick up.  They don’t even know the potential for human disease yet…..This is why I say to take each and ever tick bite as seriously as a heart attack.  It only takes one bite to sideline you and testing won’t even pick it up.