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Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in an endemic environment: wild sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) with infected ticks and antibodies.

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Ticks and blood samples were collected from wild sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) during a hunting season (August to October) of 1991 at a selected location in Hokkaido, Japan. Ixodes persulcatus (adult and nymph) and I. ovatus (adult) were the common ticks on sika deer. Spirochetes were detected in the midgut of the ticks by the indirect peroxidase-conjugated antibody staining method and by dark-field microscopy after cultivation. By the reactive pattern of monoclonal antibodies, isolates were considered to belong to Borrelia garinii or B. japonica. In an antibody test, the percentage of seropositive deer was 69.0%. Most of the adult sika deer were positive for antibodies to the spirochetes. There are significant age-dependency in antibody level and seropositive rate. The surveillance of deer should be valuable in monitoring the transmission risk of B. burgdorferi sensu lato in nature.

Microbiol Immunol. 1996;40(1):13-19.

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