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Isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato from the skin of the European badger (Meles meles) in Switzerland.

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Abstract

No data are available on the role of badgers in the ecology of
Lyme borreliosis spirochetes in Europe. In a recent study describing validation of a molecular method allowing host DNA identification and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato detection in Ixodes ricinus, the simultaneous presence of B. afzelii DNA and of European badger (Meles meles) DNA was detected in I. ricinus ticks in Switzerland. This suggested that badgers might be reservoir hosts for B. afzelii. Here, we present results obtained in a study on badgers conducted in 1996-1997. Thirty-one tissue samples (ear biopsy: n = 25, aspiration fluid: n = 6) from 8 badgers were placed in BSK medium to isolate B. burgdorferi sensu lato and were then examined by polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR/RFLP). Globally, six Borrelia isolates (6/31, 19.4%) were obtained from 3/8 (37.5%) badgers. These isolates were identified as B. afzelii (n = 3) and B. valaisiana (n = 3).

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2009 Apr;9(2):207-8. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0050.

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