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The Rate and Prevalence of Borrelia Infection in European Ticks

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Europe-wide meta-analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato prevalence in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks
 
Abstract
 
Lyme borreliosis is the most common zoonotic disease transmitted by ticks in Europe and North America. Despite having multiple tick vectors, the causative agent Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is vectored mainly by Ixodes ricinus in Europe.
 
In the present study, we aimed to review and summarize the existing data published from 2010 to 2016 concerning the prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetes in questing I. ricinus The primary focus was to evaluate the infection rate of these bacteria in ticks, accounting for tick stage, adult tick gender, region and detection method, as well as to investigate any changes in prevalence over time. The obtained data was compared to findings of a previous meta-study.
 
The literature search identified data from 24 countries with 115,028 ticks in total inspected for infection with B. burgdorferi s.l. We showed that the infection rate was significantly higher in adults than in nymphs and in females than in males. We found significant differences between European regions, with the highest infection rates in Central Europe. The most common genospecies were B. afzelii and B. garinii, despite a negative correlation of their prevalence rates. There were no statistically significant differences found among the prevalence rates determined by conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nested PCR or real-time PCR.
 
IMPORTANCE: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is a pathogenic bacterium whose clinical manifestations are associated with Lyme borreliosis. This vector-borne disease is a major public health concern in Europe and North America and may lead to severe arthritic, cardiovascular and neurological complications if left untreated. Although pathogen prevalence is considered an important predictor of infection risk, solitary isolated data have only limited value.
 
Here, we provide summarized information about the prevalence of the B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetes in the host-seeking Ixodes ricinus ticks, its principal tick vector in Europe. We compare the new results with previously published data in order to evaluate any changing trends in tick infection.
 
Source: By Strnad M1,2, Hönig V3,4, R?žek D3,4, Grubhoffer L3,2, Rego ROM3,2. Europe-wide meta-analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato prevalence in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 May 26. pii: AEM.00609-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00609-17. [Epub ahead of print]
 

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