Reptile-associated Borrelia spp. In Amblyomma ticks, Thailand.
A total of 127 Amblyomma ticks (A. helvolum, A. varanense and A. geoemydae) were collected from reptiles: water monitors (Varanus salvator), Bengal monitors (Varanus bengalensis), Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus), yellow-spotted keelbacks (Xenochrophis flavipunctatus), keeled rat snakes (Ptyas carinata) and elongated tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) from nine provinces in Thailand. The presence of Borrelia spp. of the 16S rRNA, flaB, glpQ, groEL and gyrB genes was examined by conventional, semi-nested and nested PCR. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum likelihood method of housekeeping genes showed that most sequences of Borrelia spp. in these Amblyomma ticks belonged to the clade of reptile-associated (REP) borreliae. Interestingly, one Borrelia sp. in an A. geoemydae tick collected from an elongated tortoise clustered in the same clade as a Borrelia sp. detected from an A. geoemydae-infested turtle in Japan (it may belong to the same species given the identical sequences of their 16S rRNA, flaB and glpQ genes) and formed the same group with tick-borne relapsing fever (RF) borreliae of B. miyamotoi and B. theileri.
Our findings are the first report on the presence of Borrelia spp. in A. helvolum and A. geoemydae ticks from reptiles in Thailand adding to the geographic distribution of Borrelia spp. in Asia.
Please note the turtle found with a relapsing fever borrelia in the same group as B. miyamotoi and B. theileri – both pathogens that infect humans as well as animals.
Many people do not know that ticks like reptiles. Here’s a python covered with over 500 ticks trying to drown them in a pool of water: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/14/python-covered-with-more-than-500-ticks-rescued-in-australia/
It would be a mistake to solely blame the white footed mouse:
And for Wisconsinites, lizards are a problem too:
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.
For pictures and the geographical range of WI skinks, see (yes, they are in Dane County): https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/Herps.asp?mode=detail&spec=ARACH01050