Identification of Borrelia bissettii in Ixodes scapularis ticks from New Brunswick, Canada.

Lewis J, et al. Can J Microbiol. 2019.


Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that is emerging in Canada. The disease is caused by spirochetes of the Lyme borreliosis group, which is expanding as new species are discovered. In Canada, Lyme disease risk has so far been assessed primarily by detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto. Of Ixodes scapularis ticks collected between 2014 and 2016 in New Brunswick, Canada, 7 were shown to be infected with Borrelia bissettii by nested PCR and sequencing of 5 B. bissettii genes. Since different Borrelia species are associated with different clinical manifestations and are not detected with the same diagnostic tests, the identification of a previously undocumented or underreported pathogenic Borrelia species has important implications for public and veterinary medicine.



Again, the important issue here is that current CDC 2-tiered tests only test for ONE strain of borrelia when there are 300 and counting strains worldwide being transported everywhere by migrating birds, rodents, lizards, and mammals – including humans.

Before you discount Borrelia bissetti as being “somewhere else,” please know it was found in Chicago rodents: These strains are unlike previous Borrelia isolates from NW Illinois and Wisconsin.

This excellent pdf has studies of bissetti in everything from mice to human heart valves: ws-B.Bissettii1  The pdf also makes an excellent point that desperately needs to be addressed:  Borrelia strains sequenced are strains that have been grown in culture medium. What about the diverse strains identified in the Southeastern United States that cannot be cultured? It also gives two studies showing that changing criteria of the Western Blot & mixing borrelia strains increased testing sensitivity.

 Time for the CDC to roll up their sleeves and deal with this. It is way past time.

For more on testing:

Key quote:  

“These serologic tests cannot distinguish active infection, past infection, or reinfection.”

In plain English, these tests don’t show squat.