Antibody profile to Borrelia burgdorferi in veterinarians from Nuevo León, Mexico, a non-endemic area of this zoonosis.
OBJECTIVES: Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by infections with Borrelia. Persons infected with Borrelia can be asymptomatic or can develop disseminated disease. Diagnosis and recognition of groups at risk of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi is of great interest to contemporary rheumatology. There are a few reports about Borrelia infection in Mexico, including lymphocytoma cases positive to B. burgdorferi sensu stricto by PCR and a patient with acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans. Veterinarians have an occupational risk due to high rates of tick contact. The aim of this work was to investigate antibodies to Borrelia in students at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, at Nuevo León, Mexico, and determine the antibody profile to B. burgdorferi antigens.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sera were screened using a C6 ELISA, IgG and IgM ELISA using recombinant proteins from B. burgdorferi, B. garinii and B. afzelii. Sera with positive or grey-zone values were tested by IgG Western blot to B. burgdorferi sensu stricto.
RESULTS: All volunteers reported tick exposures and 72.5% remembered tick bites. Only nine persons described mild Lyme disease related symptoms, including headaches, paresthesias, myalgias and arthralgias. None of the volunteers reported erythema migrans. Nine samples were confirmed by IgG Western blot. The profile showed 89% reactivity to OspA, 67% to p83, and 45% to BmpA.
CONCLUSIONS: Positive sera samples shared antibody reactivity to the markers of late immune response p83 and BmpA, even if individuals did not present symptoms of Lyme arthritis or post-Lyme disease. The best criterion to diagnose Lyme disease in our country remains to be established, because it is probable that different strains coexist in Mexico. This is the first report of antibodies to B. burgdorferi in Latin American veterinarians. Veterinarians and high-risk people should be alert to take precautionary measures to prevent tick-borne diseases.
Wish they would have screened them for Bartonella too.