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May K.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Jordan D.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Fingerle V.,German National Reference Center for Borrelia | Strube C.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
Medical and Veterinary Entomology | Year: 2015

To obtain initial data on Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae) in Ixodes ricinus (Ixodida: Ixodidae) ticks in Hamburg, Germany, 1400 questing ticks were collected by flagging at 10 different public recreation areas in 2011 and analysed using probe-based quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The overall rate of infection with B. burgdorferi s.l. was 34.1%; 30.0% of adults were infected (36.7% of females and 26.0% of males), as were 34.5% of nymphs. Significant differences in tick infection rates were observed between the spring and summer/autumn months, as well as among sampling locations. Borrelia genospecies identification by reverse line blotting was successful in 43.6% of positive tick samples. The most frequent genospecies was Borrelia garinii/Borrelia bavariensis, followed by Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia valaisiana, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia spielmanii, Borrelia bissettii and Borrelia lusitaniae. Based on previously published data, co-infection of Borrelia and Rickettsiales spp. was determined in 25.8% of ticks. Overall, 22.9% of ticks were co-infected with Rickettsia spp. (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae), 1.7% with Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae), and 1.2% with both pathogens. Study results show a high prevalence of Borrelia-positive ticks in recreation areas in the northern German city of Hamburg and the potential health risk to humans in these areas should not be underestimated. © 2015 The Royal Entomological Society.

Tappe J.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Jordan D.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Janecek E.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Fingerle V.,German National Reference Center for Borrelia | Strube C.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2014

Background: The present study investigated the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) genospecies in Ixodes ricinus ticks collected in Hanover, Northern Germany, in 2010. At the same time the study served as fifth-year-follow-up study for data comparison with 2005. Methods: A total of 2100 questing ticks were collected and analysed by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) with subsequent species differentiation via Reverse Line Blot and Sanger sequencing. Simultaneously, results obtained in 2010 were compared to infection rates from 2005 to evaluate the development of B. burgdorferi s.l. infection rates in Hanoverian ticks. Results: Overall, 22.7% (476/2,100) of collected ticks were tested positive for B. burgdorferi s.l. infections. Adult ticks showed an infection rate of 33.3% (124/372), subdivided into 29.6% (58/196) positive males and 37.5% (66/176) positive females. Nymph and larvae infection rates were found to be 20.3% (344/1,697) and 25.8% (8/31), respectively. Species identification was successful for 59.2% (282/476) of positive ticks with B. afzelii as the most frequently detected genospecies, followed by B. garinii (including B. bavariensis) and B. spielmanii. B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.), B. bissettii, B. valaisiana and B. lusitaniae were also identified. Significant differences concerning seasonal fluctuations as well as local differences were observed. Comparing infection rates of Hanoverian ticks between years, a significant increase (P = 0.002) could be observed for larvae with 1.7% positives (2/60) in 2005 and 25.8% positives (8/31) in 2010. In the latter year, coinfections with Borrelia and Rickettsiales were detected in a total of 7.8% (163/2,100) of collected ticks. Of these, 7.3% (153/2,100) were coinfected with Rickettsia spp., 0.3% (7/2,100) with A. phagocytophilum and 0.1% (3/2,100) were coinfected with all three pathogens. Between years 2005 and 2010, no statistically significant differences in coinfection rates were found. Conclusions: Comparing B. burgdorferi s.l. infections in Hanoverian I. ricinus ticks in 2010 with data from 2005, a statistically significant increase of infected larvae was noted, whereas the other stages revealed no statistically significant differences. Whether the increased larvae infection rate is an isolated event or results from factual circumstances, e.g. increasing effectiveness of transovarial transmission due to unknown factors, has to be evaluated in further studies. © 2014 Tappe et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Glatz M.,Medical University of Graz | Glatz M.,University of Zurich | Mullegger R.R.,Medical University of Graz | Maurer F.,University of Zurich | And 4 more authors.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases | Year: 2014

Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis DNA was discovered in Ixodes ricinus ticks in 1999 and is referred to as an emerging human pathogen since its first detection in patients with febrile illness reported in 2010. In recent years, Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis has been detected in ticks from several European, Asian, and African countries. However, no epidemiological data exist for Austria, which is a highly endemic region for tick-transmitted diseases. To assess the geographic spread and prevalence of Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis sympatric with other tick-transmitted pathogens, we analysed 518 I. ricinus ticks collected in 2002 and 2003 in Graz, Austria. The prevalence of Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis was 4.2%, that of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato 25.7%, and that of Anaplasma phagocytophilum 1%. Coinfections with Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis and B. burgdorferi sensu lato were found in 2.3% of all ticks. Thus, the results show a relatively high prevalence of Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis in Austrian ticks suggesting a high probability for the occurrence of undiagnosed human infections in Austria. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.

Ogden N.H.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Mechai S.,University of Montreal | Margos G.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Margos G.,German National Reference Center for Borrelia
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology | Year: 2013

The geographic ranges of ticks and tick-borne pathogens are changing due to global and local environmental (including climatic) changes. In this review we explore current knowledge of the drivers for changes in the ranges of ticks and tick-borne pathogen species and strains via effects on their basic reproduction number (R0), and the mechanisms of dispersal that allow ticks and tick-borne pathogens to invade suitable environments. Using the expanding geographic distribution of the vectors and agent of Lyme disease as an example we then investigate what could be expected of the diversity of tick-borne pathogens during the process of range expansion, and compare this with what is currently being observed. Lastly we explore how historic population and range expansions and contractions could be reflected in the phylogeography of ticks and tick-borne pathogens seen in recent years, and conclude that combined study of currently changing tick and tick-borne pathogen ranges and diversity, with phylogeographic analysis, may help us better predict future patterns of invasion and diversity. © 2013 Ogden, Mechai and Margos.

Koedel U.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Fingerle V.,German National Reference Center for Borrelia | Pfister H.-W.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Nature Reviews Neurology | Year: 2015

Lyme disease, caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, is the most common vector-borne disease in the northern hemisphere. The clinical presentation varies with disease stage, and neurological manifestations (often referred to as Lyme neuroborreliosis) are reported in up to 12% of patients with Lyme disease. Most aspects of the epidemiology, clinical manifestation and treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis are well known and accepted; only the management of so-called chronic Lyme disease is surrounded by considerable controversy. This term is used for disparate patient groups, including those who have untreated late-stage infection (for example, late neuroborreliosis), those with subjective symptoms that persist after treatment (termed 'post-Treatment Lyme disease syndrome' [PTLDS]), and those with unexplained subjective complaints that may or may not be accompanied by positive test results for B. burgdorferi infection in serum (here called 'chronic Lyme disease'). The incidence of PTLDS is still a matter of debate, and its pathogenesis is unclear, but there is evidence that these patients do not have ongoing B. burgdorferi infection and, thus, do not benefit from additional antibiotic therapy. Chronic Lyme disease lacks an accepted clinical definition, and most patients who receive this diagnosis have other illnesses. Thus, a careful diagnostic work-up is needed to ensure proper treatment. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

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