Borrelia miyamotoi and Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) identification and survey of tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks from north-eastern Germany.
Ixodes ricinus is the most common tick species in Europe and the main vector for Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). It is involved also in the transmission of Borrelia miyamotoi, a relapsing fever spirochete that causes health disorders in humans. Little is known regarding the circulation of Borrelia species and the natural foci of TBEV in north-eastern Germany. The goal of this study was to investigate the infection rates of Borrelia spp. and of TBEV in I. ricinus ticks from north-eastern Germany.
Ticks were collected by flagging from 14 forest sites in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania between April and October 2018. RNA and DNA extraction was performed from individual adult ticks and from pools of 2-10 nymphs. Real time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) targeted the 3′ non-coding region of TBEV, while DNA of Borrelia spp. was tested by nested PCR for the amplification of 16S-23S intergenic spacer. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was performed on B. miyamotoi isolates.
In total, 2407 ticks were collected (239 females, 232 males and 1936 nymphs). Female and male I. ricinus ticks had identical infection rates (both 12.1%) for Borrelia spp., while nymphal pools showed a minimum infection rate (MIR) of 3.3%. Sequencing revealed four Borrelia species: B. afzelii, B. garinii, B. valaisiana and B. miyamotoi.
- Borrelia afzelii had the highest prevalence in adult ticks (5.5%) and nymphs (MIR of 1.8%)
- Borrelia miyamotoi was identified in 3.0% of adults and registered the MIR of 0.8% in nymphs
- Borrelia valaisiana was confirmed in 2.5% adult ticks and nymphs had the MIR of 0.7%
- B. garinii was present in 1.1% of adults and showed a MIR of 0.1% in nymphs
- The MLST of B. miyamotoi isolates showed that they belong to sequence type 635.
- No tick sample was positive after RT-qPCR for TBEV RNA.
The prevalence of B. miyamotoi in I. ricinus ticks registered similar levels to other reports from Europe suggesting that this agent might be well established in the local tick population.
The detection of B. burgdorferi (s.l.) indicates a constant circulation in tick populations from this region.
If four borrelia species were discovered in German ticks, it’s highly likely these same ticks are transmitting to humans. German patients are sunk if doctors are utilizing worthless CDC 2-tiered testing as it ONLY uses one strain, which isn’t even discussed in this paper (B. burgdorferi).
Borrelia afzelii, miyamotoi, and garinii ALL are pathogenic to humans.
This 2004 article shows they found valaisiana in the cerebrospinal fluid in a, “61-year-old man with a history of spastic paraparesis, which is strong clinical evidence of advanced neuroborreliosis.” They further state, “This report is the first of genetic detection of B. valaisiana in CSF, which indicates a probable association of this genospecies with disease in humans.” https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/9/03-0439_article
Sixteen years later we still don’t know if valaisianna is pathogen to humans.