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First isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato from Ixodes ricinus ticks in Morocco.

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Abstract

To determine the infection rate of Ixodes ricinus (I. ricinus) ticks with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (B. burgdorferi sl) and to assess the frequency of the individual Borrelia species in this tick species, a total of 295 I. ricinus were collected in Taza region (Northeast of Morocco), from January to June 2002. The presence of B. burgdorferi sl was determined by direct fluorescence antibody assay (DFA) and by PCR after culture. B. burgdorferi sl isolates were identified at the species level by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of amplified products. The mean rate of I. ricinus infection with B. burgdorferi sl was 47.8%. Isolation attempts in BSK II medium resulted in 26 pure isolates. However, PCR performed on culture medium allowed to identify 82 Borrelia DNAs. B. lusitaniae has been identified from 76 out of 82 infected I. ricinus ticks (92.7%). Three ticks were infected by B. burgdorferi ss, and three other ticks were infected by B. garinii. This is the first report of the presence of B. burgdorferi sl in Morocco and more specifically of B. burgdorferi ss in North Africa.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2003 Fall;3(3):133-9. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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