Detection of the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) in UK ticks using polymerase chain reaction.
Nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from woodland areas in South Wales, UK, were tested using the polymerase chain reaction for the presence both of the causative agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) and Borrelia burgdorferi. Twenty-two of 60 (37%) ticks were found positive in the PCR for B. burgdorferi and 4/60 (7%) for the HGE agent. One tick was found positive both for B. burgdorferi and HGE agent. Our findings imply the presence of the HGE agent in UK ticks and the finding of a tick apparently containing both pathogens underlines the potential for concurrent infection with HGE agent and B. burgdorferi to occur after a single tick-bite. Based on our observations, we conclude that there may be a need to consider a range of pathogens both in laboratory investigation and clinical management of suspected tick-borne disease in the UK, particularly where there is a clinical presentation atypical of Lyme borreliosis alone. (+info)
Isolation of Lyme disease Borrelia from puffins (Fratercula arctica) and seabird ticks (Ixodes uriae) on the Faeroe Islands.
This is the first report on the isolation of Lyme disease Borrelia from seabirds on the Faeroe Islands and the characteristics of its enzootic cycle. The major components of the Borrelia cycle include the puffin (Fratercula arctica) as the reservoir and Ixodes uriae as the vector. The importance of this cycle and its impact on the spread of human Lyme borreliosis have not yet been established. Borrelia spirochetes isolated from 2 of 102 sampled puffins were compared to the borreliae previously obtained from seabird ticks, I. uriae. The rrf-rrl intergenic spacer and the rrs and the ospC genes were sequenced and a series of phylogenetic trees were constructed. Sequence data and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis grouped the strains together with Borrelia garinii. In a seroepidemiological survey performed with residents involved in puffin hunting on the Faeroe Islands, 3 of 81 serum samples were found to be positive by two commonly used clinical tests: a flagellin-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting. These three positive serum samples also had high optical density values in a whole-cell ELISA. The finding of seropositive Faeroe Islanders who are regularly exposed to I. uriae indicate that there may be a transfer of B. garinii by this tick species to humans. (+info)
Quantitative real-time PCR for detection of members of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup in host animals and Ixodes ricinus ticks.
A TaqMan PCR was established for identification and quantitation of members of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila group in experimentally infected cows and in Ixodes ricinus ticks. The TaqMan PCR identified a 106-bp section of the 16S rRNA gene by use of a specific fluorogenic probe and two primers. This technique was specific for members of the E. phagocytophila group, which include E. phagocytophila, Ehrlichia equi, and the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. The TaqMan system identified 10 copies of a cloned section of the 16S rRNA gene of E. phagocytophila. The sensitivity and specificity of the TaqMan PCR were similar to those of conventional nested PCR. The numbers of ehrlichiae in leukocytes of the two cows experimentally infected with E. phagocytophila were measured daily by TaqMan PCR and had a course similar to that of the percentages of infected leukocytes determined daily by light microscopy. The prevalence of infected free-living ticks, which were collected from areas where bovine ehrlichiosis is endemic and from regions with sporadic occurrences of granulocytic ehrlichiosis in dogs and horses, was identical as determined by nested PCR and TaqMan PCR. (+info)
Evidence of the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent in Ixodes ricinus ticks in Switzerland.
A total of 1,667 Ixodes ricinus ticks were collected from five regions in Switzerland where there have been sporadic occurrences of granulocytic ehrlichiosis in dogs and horses. The ticks were examined for rickettsiae of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila group via nested PCR. Twenty-one ticks (1.3%) were positive; 3 (0.5%) were nymphs, 6 (1.3%) were adult males, and 12 (1.9%) were adult females. The number of positive ticks varied with the stage of development and with the geographical origin. Nucleotide sequencing of the isolated PCR products identified these products as part of the 16S rRNA gene of Ehrlichia. In addition, these products had 100% homology with the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. The occurrence of this agent in I. ricinus in Switzerland presents a potential danger of transmission of granulocytic ehrlichiosis to dogs, horses, and humans. (+info)
Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Ixodes ricinus ticks in urban recreational areas of Helsinki.
Lyme borreliosis, an infection caused by the tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is a major health problem for populations in areas of endemicity in the Northern Hemisphere. In the present study we assessed the density of ticks and the prevalence of B. burgdorferi sensu lato among ticks in popular urban recreational areas of Helsinki, Finland. Altogether 1,688 Ixodes ricinus ticks were collected from five areas located within 5 km of the downtown section of Helsinki, and 726 of them (303 nymphs, 189 females, and 234 males) were randomly chosen for laboratory analysis. The midguts of the ticks were divided into three pieces, one for dark-field microscopy, one for cultivation in BSK-II medium, and one for PCR analysis. Ticks were found in all the study areas; their densities varied from 1 to 36 per 100 m along which a cloth was dragged. The rate of tick infection with B. burgdorferi sensu lato varied from 19 to 55%, with the average being 32%. Borellia afzelii was the most predominant genospecies in all the areas, and no B. burgdorferi sensu stricto isolates were detected. Only two ticks were concurrently infected with both B. afzelii and Borrelia garinii. Dark-field microscopy gave more positive results for B. burgdorferi than did cultivation or PCR analysis. However, the agreement between all three methods was fairly good. We conclude that Lyme borreliosis can be contracted even in urban environments not populated with large mammals like deer or elk. The disease should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis of certain symptoms of patients from these areas, and the use of measures to improve the awareness of the general population and health care officials of the risk of contracting the disease is warranted. (+info)
Temporal relation between Ixodes scapularis abundance and risk for Lyme disease associated with erythema migrans.
Understanding the role that nymphal and female ticks, Ixodes scapularis, have in the epidemiology of Lyme disease is essential to the development of successful prevention programs. In this study, the authors sought to evaluate the seasonal and annual relations between tick densities and patients > or = 16 years of age diagnosed with erythema migrans (EM), the rash associated with early Lyme disease. Ticks were collected weekly by drag sampling throughout most of the year from 1991 to 1996 in Westchester County, New York. The number of EM cases was based on patients diagnosed at the Westchester County Medical Center using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria. No patients with EM were diagnosed from January through April, when only adult ticks were active. Correlation analysis between monthly tick densities and EM incidence was significant for nymphs (r = 0.87, p < 0.01), but not for adult ticks (r = -0.57, p > 0.05). There was a strong, although not significant, correlation between peak annual number of patients with EM and peak nymphal tick abundance (r = 0.76, p = 0.08). These data indicate that bites from adult I. scapularis only rarely result in Lyme disease, and that annual nymphal tick abundance determines exposure. This suggests that annual fluctuations in Lyme disease case numbers are largely due to natural changes in tick abundance and, therefore, that control of nymphal I. scapularis should be a major component of Lyme disease prevention efforts. (+info)
Antibody levels to recombinant tick calreticulin increase in humans after exposure to Ixodes scapularis (Say) and are correlated with tick engorgement indices.
The antibody responses of subjects who presented with a definite Ixodes scapularis (Say) tick bite were measured to determine the utility of the antibody response against recombinant tick calreticulin (rTC) as a biologic marker of tick exposure. Subjects bitten by I. scapularis evidenced an increase in anti-rTC antibody levels between visit 1 and visit 2 from 24.3 to 27.1 ng/microl serum (n = 88, p = 0.003), and levels remained elevated at visit 3 (p = 0.005). These anti-rTC antibody levels during visits 2 and 3 were significantly higher than those in four non-exposed controls. Tick engorgement indices, measured on the biting ticks, were found to be correlated with anti-rTC antibody levels (e.g., for visit 3: Pearson's r = 0.357, p = 0.001). Tick engorgement index (TEI), ratio of body length to scutal width, was identified to be the only independent predictor of anti-rTC antibody levels in linear regression models. Logistic regression revealed that a bite from an I. scapularis tick that became engorged (TEI >3.4) was a risk factor for anti-rTC antibody seropositivity (adjusted odds ratio for age and bite location = 7.4 (95% confidence interval 2.1-26.4)). The anti-rTC antibody test had a sensitivity of 0.50 and a specificity of 0.86 for a bite from I. scapularis that became engorged. Immunoblotting revealed that subjects made a specific anti-rTC antibody response. (+info)
Disparity in the natural cycles of Borrelia burgdorferi and the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis.
We studied the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi and the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) among questing nymphal and adult Ixodes scapularis ticks of the same generation and the infectivity of wild white-footed mice for ticks feeding on them. The prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection in host-seeking ticks increased less than twofold from nymphal (31% to 33%) to adult (52% to 56%) stage, and 52% of white-footed mice were infected. Prevalence of the agent of HGE increased 4.5- to 10.6-fold from nymphal (1.5% to 1.8%) to adult stage (7.6% to 19.0%), while only 18% of mice were infectious to ticks. B. burgdorferi infection was more common in mouse-fed ticks than in ticks collected from vegetation, whereas the agent of HGE was half as common in mouse-fed ticks as in ticks collected from vegetation. The different prevalence in nature of these pathogens in ticks suggests that their maintenance cycles are also different. (+info)