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Spiders and Borrelia burgdorferi: no evidence of reservoir occurrence in central Arkansas.

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Although Ixodes ticks are considered the chief vector for Borrelia burgdorferi in the USA, B. burgdorferi has also been identified in mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies. We examined the possibility of these organisms being harbored in two species of spider in central Arkansas.


Ten wolf spiders (Lycosa gulosa) and two brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) were collected in central Arkansas during early summer and fixed in formalin. Paraffin-embedded sections of the spiders were examined for spirochetes using the modified Steiner spirochete staining method and examined for B. burgdorferi using immunohistochemistry.


All 12 spiders from both species were found to be negative for all spirochetes including B. burgdorferi.


Spiders in our sample appeared not to harbor B. burgdorferi. Further studies utilizing larger sample sizes, more sensitive testing measures, or spiders from an area more endemic with B. burgdorferi may further prove or disprove that spiders are capable of harboring this organism.

Int J Dermatol. 1999 Apr;38(4):296-7.

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