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The taxonomic aspects of the transmission of the causative agent of Lyme disease.

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According to world literature data 17 species of ixodid ticks have been studied for natural infection with the
Lyme disease agent. Analysis of the data on the level of the infection, transovarial and transphase transmission has shown that main biological vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi are the species of the subgenus Ixodes s. str. – I. ricinus, I. persulcatus (Eurasia), I. dammini, I. pacificus (North America). Potential vectors are I. scapularis, I. dentatus, Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis. Single isolations were registered for I. neotomae, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, D. occidentalis. Nonidentified spirocheta was isolated from A. americanum, D. variabilis, D. parumapertum, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. No agent was isolated from I. cookey, D. albipictus, R. reticulatus, H. concinna. On the basis of comparative and ontogenetic data the species from a group of main vectors: I. ricinus, I. persulcatus, I. pacificus had been attributed by me to the phyletic group persulcatus before
Lyme disease was discovered and its causative agent isolated. The question whether I. scapularis belongs to the group persulcatus was also discussed at that time but left open due to somewhat aberrant structure of gnathosoma at preimaginal phases (Filippova, 1969, 1971, 1973). 6 Palaearctic, 2 Indomalayan and 3 Nearctic species were referred to the group persulcatus at the time. I. dammini was described later, in 1979. Gnathosoma of its preimaginal phases has an intermediate structure between I. scapularis and other species of the group persulcatus. Sexually mature phase and nymph of I. dentatus have much in common with Palaearctic members of the group, I. pavlovskyi, I. kazakstani, I. kashmicus. Preimaginal phases of I. scapularis and nymph of I. dentatus were studied by me on the collection material. Thus, it is possible to speak of the belonging of main vectors of B. burgdorferi to a common phyletic group within the subgenus Ixodes s. str. and, therefore, of common origin of ecological medium for the agent. At the same time each species of the vector is an evolutionally developed difference of ecological medium for B. burgdorferi. Roots of the group persulcatus could originate as far as in Paleocene before the land connection between North America and Europe disappeared. Conditions for the existence of recent species, however, appeared considerably later and their flourishing is dated by Pliocene. The main epidemiological role belongs now to I. ricinus, I. persulcatus, I. dammini, I. pacificus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Parazitologiia. 1990 Jul-Aug;24(4):257-67. English Abstract; Review

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