Presence of Babesia odocoilei and Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Stricto in a Tick and Dual Parasitism of Amblyomma inornatum and Ixodes scapularis on a Bird in Canada
John D. Scott 1,*, Kerry L. Clark 2 and Lance A. Durden 3
Wild birds transport ticks into Canada that harbor a diversity of zoonotic pathogens. However, medical practitioners often question how these zoonotic pathogens are present in their locality. In this study, we provide the first report of an Amblyomma inornatum tick cofeeding with a blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, which parasitized a Veery, Catharus fuscescens—a neotropical songbird. Using the flagellin (flaB) gene of the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and the 18S rRNA gene of the Babesia piroplasm, a malaria-like microorganism, we detected Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto and Babesia odocoilei, respectively, in an I. scapularis nymph. After the molt, these ticks can bite humans. Furthermore, this is the first documentation of B. odocoilei in a tick parasitizing a bird.
Our findings substantiate the fact that migratory songbirds transport neotropical ticks long distances, and import them into Canada during northward spring migration. Health care practitioners need to be aware that migratory songbirds transport pathogen-laden ticks into Canada annually, and pose an unforeseen health risk to Canadians.
This study is important because it demonstrates a number of things:
- Migrating birds are transporting ticks EVERYWHERE: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/03/09/danish-study-shows-migrating-birds-are-spreading-ticks-their-pathogens-including-places-without-sustainable-tick-populations/ and it has NOTHING to do with climate change: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/11/07/ticks-on-the-move-due-to-migrating-birds-and-photoperiod-not-climate-change/
- Numerous ticks can feed in tandem, spreading multiple pathogens simultaneously: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/05/01/co-infection-of-ticks-the-rule-rather-than-the-exception/
- There are many strains of these pathogens that aren’t being considered and tested for. Babesia odocoilei is a prime example but this is happening with each and every pathogen. This demonstrates another reason why patients are ill but test negative. Normally we think of B. microti, B. divergans, and B. duncani infecting humans http://www.ncagr.gov/oep/oneMedicine/noms/2010/Moncayo_Abelardo_Human_Babesiosis.pdf but there are others: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3998201/ In Austria and Italy patients experienced a severe illness caused by EU1, a species closely related to B. odocoilei. InTaiwan it was (TW1) and in Korea (KO1). Human babesiosis is now reported from around the world. The study in this link states that reported human cases of babesiosis have been attributed, without strong molecular evidence to B. divergans: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020600/
- Physicians are not taking into account the polymicrobial (numerous pathogens) aspect of this illness or pleomorphism (shape-shifting). Babesia, unlike malaria is pleomorphic: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/30/study-shows-lyme-msids-patients-infected-with-many-pathogens-and-explains-why-we-are-so-sick/
- Without considering these aspects, patients will never be treated properly. The CDC’s antiquated and unscientific 21 days of doxycycline will not fix this. Those who remain with symptoms, whom the CDC calls “PTLDS,” do not include a huge subset of patients that had delays in treatment: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/25/medical-stalemate-what-causes-continuing-symptoms-after-lyme-treatment/
- Research has shown that being coinfected with numerous pathogens complicates and worsens cases exponentially: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/28/concurrent-babesiosis-and-lyme-in-patient/, and http://www.lymepa.org/c07%20Lyme%20disease%20and%20Babesiosis%20coinfection.pdf Telling Quote:
THE NUMBER OF SYMPTOMS AND DURATION OF ILLNESS IN PATIENTS WITH CONCURRENT LYME DISEASE AND BABESIOSIS ARE GREATER THAN IN PATIENTS WITH EITHER INFECTION ALONE