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Exploring gaps in our knowledge on Lyme borreliosis spirochaetes–updates on complex heterogeneity, ecology, and pathogenicity.

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Lyme borreliosis complex is a heterogeneous group of tick-borne spirochaetes of the genus Borrelia (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae) that are distributed all over the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. Due to the usage of new methods for phylogenetic analysis, this group has expanded rapidly during the past 5 years. Along with this development, the number of Borrelia spp. regarded as pathogenic to humans also increased. Distribution areas as well as host and vector ranges of
Lyme borreliosis agents turned out to be much wider than previously thought. Furthermore, there is evidence that ticks, reservoir hosts, and patients can be coinfected with multiple Borrelia spp. or other tick-borne pathogens, which indicates a need to establish new and well-defined diagnostic and therapeutic standards for
Lyme borreliosis. This review gives a broad overview on the occurrence of
Lyme borreliosis spirochaetes worldwide with particular emphasis on their vectors and vertebrate hosts as well as their pathogenic potential and resultant problems in diagnosis and treatment. Against the background that many issues regarding distribution, species identity, ecology, pathogenicity, and coinfections are still unsolved, the purpose of this article is to reveal directions for future research on the
Lyme borreliosis complex.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2013 Feb;4(1-2):11-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2012.06.007. Epub 2012 Aug 29. Review

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