First report of Borrelia miyamotoi in an Ixodes ricinus tick in Augsburg, Germany
Borrelia miyamotoi, a spirochete found in the hard tick Ixodes ricinus, is thought to cause relapsing fever. The disease caused by this bacterium can manifest with high fever, fatigue and other symptoms. It may also lead to central nervous system involvement with symptoms similar to meningoencephalitis. DNA from ticks from the greater Augsburg region in Germany was subjected to qPCR for Borrelia spp., followed by nested PCR and subsequent sequencing for species identification of the qPCR positive samples. From 112 ticks, 20 were found to be positive for Borrelia. The DNA sequenced showed 50% Borrelia afzelli, 15% Borrelia garinii, 5% Borrelia valaisiana and one sequence was identified as Borrelia miyamotoi. The positive identification of Borrelia miyamotoi is unlikely to be due to contamination. In conclusion, Borrelia miyamotoi has been found in a tick in the Augsburg region for the first time. This follows on from previous reports of a low incidence of this bacterium in southern Germany around Lake Constance and in the Munich region. This infectious agent should be taken into account when patients present with recurring fever or neurological symptoms which cannot be otherwise explained. Tick-borne relapsing fever should now be considered as a cause of such symptoms and medical professionals should contemplate differential Borrelia testing when presented with corresponding symptoms.
KeywordsBorrelia miyamotoi Tick Ixodes ricinus Borrelia spp. Relapsing fever Augsburg
Polymerase chain reaction
The authors would like to thank Vanessa Senteck and Joanna Schmucker for excellent technical assistance with DNA extraction/tick 16S analysis and IGS nested PCR, respectively. Dr. Norbert Wolff from Infectolab Vet gave invaluable assistance in initializing tick collection. Wiktoria Fiedorowicz performed the gel extraction for tick 16S sequencing.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Fukunaga M, Takahashi Y, Tsuruta Y et al (1995) Genetic and phenotypic analysis of Borrelia miyamotoi sp. nov., isolated from the ixodid tick Ixodes persulcatus, the vector for Lyme disease in Japan. Int J Syst Bacteriol 45:804–810. https://doi.org/10.1099/00207713-45-4-804 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Jahfari S, Ruyts SC, Frazer-Mendelewska E et al (2017) Melting pot of tick-borne zoonoses: the European hedgehog contributes to the maintenance of various tick-borne diseases in natural cycles urban and suburban areas. Parasit Vectors 10:134. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-017-2065-0 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Morris PA (1988) A study of home range and movements in the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). J Zool 214:433–449. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1988.tb03751.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar