Ixodes ricinus ticks (Acari: Ixodidae): vectors for Lyme disease spirochetes in Romania.

National Institute of Research-Development for Microbiology and Immunology Cantacuzino, 103 Splaiul Independenţei, 050096, Bucharest, Romania.
Experimental and Applied Acarology (Impact Factor: 1.82). 03/2011; 54(3):293-300. DOI: 10.1007/s10493-011-9438-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this study 1,868 questing Ixodes ricinus ticks (nymphs and adults), collected in six sites from three counties--Giurgiu, Sibiu, and Tulcea--in Romania, were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by reverse line blot (RLB) for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato presence. The bacteria were found in 18% of the investigated ticks. The prevalence of infection did not differ significantly between nymphs (19.1%) and adults (15.4%). Three B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies were detected: B. afzelii (61.1%), B. garinii (31.2%), and B. valaisiana (7.7%). No mixed infections were detected. The highest infection prevalence in nymphs was detected at Cristian (Sibiu County)--22.0%, whereas in adults it was at Comana (Giurgiu County)--19.8%. This preliminary study provides evidence that Lyme disease spirochetes are present in various regions of Romania, and at a relatively high prevalence in their vectors, thus posing a risk of infection to human subjects in the areas infested by ticks.

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    ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis (LB) is very complex due to the diversity of clinical manifestations, very few being exclusive for Borrelia burgdorferi infection . In this context the diagnosis is based on clinical criteria (symptoms and clinical signs), exposure history and laboratory test results. Generally, the microbiological laboratory data are a major criterium for the clinical diagnosis of LB. The antibody detection methods are the main laboratory tests used to support a clinical diagnosis for most LB stages. In this study we investigated the detection specificity of antibodies against B. burgdorferi s.l by using three different Western blot (WB) tests to evaluate possible correlations between the clinical manifestations of LB and infecting B. burgdorferi genospecies in 26 Romanian patients with positive ELISA results for LB. Each of WB tests allows detection of specific antibodies against one of three B. burgdorferi s.l genospecies responsible for LB cases in Romanian patients, represented by B. afzelii, B. garinii and B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. The results of our study showed that both IgG and especially IgM antibodies cross-react mainly with antigens of B. garinii and B. afzelii, no specific correlation can be done between genospecies of B. burgdorferi s.l involved in infection and clinical manifestations of patients with clinical suspicion of LB. Therefore the WB tests used for the confirmation of ELISA results in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples of patients suspected of LB must allow the simultaneous detection of the antibodies against antigens of all three B. burgdorferi s.l genospecies. It is also recommended the use of the latest generation of WB kits, which contain not only the antigens purified from three strains of B. burgdorferi genospecies, but also the antigens that are expressed during in vivo infection, obtained by recombinant DNA technology.
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of our study were to determine (i) which tick species bite humans in Romania and (ii) the prevalence of Borrelia (B.) burgdorferi genospecies in these ticks. All ticks collected from patients who presented to the Clinic of Infectious Diseases Cluj Napoca in spring/summer 2010 were morphologically identified by an entomologist and tested for B. burgdorferi genospecies prevalence by a real-time PCR assay targeting the hbb gene and melting curve analysis. Out of 532 ticks, 518 were Ixodes ricinus, 10 Dermacentor marginatus, and 3 Haemaphysalis spp. ticks, and one unidentified tick due to destruction. Since evaluation of the hbb PCR revealed that it was not possible to differentiate between B. spielmanii/B. valaisiana and B. garinii/B. bavariensis, sequencing of an 800-bp fragment of the ospA gene was performed in these cases. Out of 389 investigated ticks, 43 were positive by hbb PCR for B. burgdorferi sensu lato. The positive samples were 42 Ixodes ricinus (11.1% B. burgdorferi sensu lato prevalence) and the one unidentified tick. Species identification revealed the presence of mainly B. afzelii, but also of B. garinii, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. valaisiana, and B. lusitaniae. In 4 samples, differentiation between B. spielmanii/B. valaisiana was impossible. Our study shows that the most relevant human pathogenic B. burgdorferi genospecies - predominantly B. afzelii - are present in ticks collected from Romanian patients.
    Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 06/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ttbdis.2014.04.007 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The paper reports the prevalence and geographical distribution of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) and its genospecies in 12,221 questing Ixodes ricinus ticks collected at 183 locations from all the 41 counties of Romania. The unfed ticks were examined for the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. by PCR targeting the intergenic spacer 5S–23S. Reverse line blot hybridization (RLB) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis were performed for identification of B. burgdorferi genospecies. The overall prevalence of infection was 1.4%, with an average local prevalence between 0.75% and 18.8%. B. burgdorferi s.l. was found in ticks of 55 of the 183 localities. The overall prevalence B. burgdorferi s.l. in ticks in the infected localities was 3.8%. The total infection prevalence was higher in female ticks than in other developmental stages. Three Borrelia genospecies were detected. The most widely distributed genospecies was B. afzelii, followed by B. garinii and B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.). The study is the first countrywide study and the first report of B. burgdorferi s.s. in Romania. The distribution maps show that higher prevalences were recorded in hilly areas, but Lyme borreliosis spirochetes were also present in forested lowlands, albeit with a lower prevalence.
    Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 07/2013; 4(5):403-408. DOI:10.1016/j.ttbdis.2013.04.007 · 2.88 Impact Factor


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