2019 Jan 15;12(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3286-1.

Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) in ectoparasites and reptiles in southern Italy.



Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) is a complex containing pathogenic bacteria of which some species, such as Borrelia lusitaniae, use birds, small mammals and reptiles as reservoirs. In Italy, the bacteria have been detected in reptilian and avian reservoirs in the northern and central regions.


Here, 211 reptiles from three orders [Squamata (Sauria with seven species in five families and Ophidia with 11 species in three families), Crocodylia (one family and two species), and Testudines (two families and two species)] were examined for ectoparasites and molecular detection of B. burgdorferi (s.l.) in three different sites of southern Italy, an area for which no information was previously available on the occurrence of borreliosis in animals and humans. Borrelia lusitaniae was molecularly detected in larvae and nymphs (11.6%) of Ixodes ricinus infesting lizards (i.e. Podarcis muralis, Podarcis siculus and Lacerta bilineata) and in 12.3% blood samples of P. siculus. Finally, B. lusitaniae and Borrelia garinii were detected in 5.1% (32/630) of questing I. ricinus.


These results show the circulation of B. lusitaniae in southern Italy and suggest that P. siculus could play a role as a reservoir, representing a potential medical threat to humans living in or visiting these localities.



All we really hear about is the white footed mouse; however, this article clearly shows the importance of reptiles:

Wisconsin has its share of reptiles that can serve as hosts for ticks.  Researchers working at Fort McCoy near Sparta, as part of a multi-university project Michigan State ecologist Jean Tsao leads, have collected deer ticks from five-lined skinks and snakes.

But reptiles are simply not as prominent in the state as Borrelia-spreading rodents. The five-lined skink’s range in Wisconsin includes a roughly Y-shaped swath of the state, which doesn’t include the northwestern counties that tend to see the highest Lyme infection rates. (White-footed mice are found just about all over the state.)

Other articles point out the importance of squirrels and other rodents:

For far too long, authorities have tried to put all of this into a little white box and simplify it when nothing could be further from the truth.  Everything about Lyme/MSIDS is complex.  This isn’t just a Northern problem consisting of deer and white footed mice.  This is a global problem consisting of numerous reservoirs.

This is a pandemic with many reservoirs. Italian Wall Lizard – Podarcis siculus siculus (Rafinesque-Schmaltz, 1810) 


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