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TDK conference 2015

Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Borrelia miyamotoi in questing ticks and tick fauna of companion animals in East Germany
Lügner Jenny - year 5
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Parasitology and Zoology
Supervisor: Gabor Foldvari


The aim of my scientific work was to receive information about tick species occurring in Bautzen (East Saxony, Germany). Furthermore I wanted to extend the knowledge about the intensity of ticks infected by the Borrelia spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, responsible for Lyme disease and Borrelia miyamotoi, the causative agent of the relapsing fever.

The ticks that should be analyzed for possible Borrelia infection were collected from one area in the eastern part of Germany by the flagging method. The collection period of ticks from the field lasted for altogether seven months, from March to September 2014. The flagged ticks were identified under stereomicroscope, all of them were identified as Ixodes ricinus. Finally the DNA was extracted and the genetic material was sent to the German Reference Laboratory for Borreliosis in Oberschleißheim where various PCR analyzing methods were performed. A total number of 66 ticks were infected with Borrelia burgdorferi s. l. (9%) and 18 ticks carried B. miyamotoi (3%). The remaining investigated ticks were screened with negative results (88%). Further genotyping of the positive samples by various PCR sequencing techniques revealed the following results: six specimens were infected by B. afzelii, further two were harboring B. afzelii together with B. bavariensis and one was infected with B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. Further genotyping efforts with additional sequencing methods revealed four positive results for B. miyamotoi.

Another important part of my scientific work was the collection of ticks directly from pets. The ticks were collected to extend our knowledge about ticks that could not be monitored with flagging such as endophilic tick species. A total of 566 ticks were removed by the participating veterinarians at the end of the collection period from altogether 177 cats and 181 dogs, respectively. The dominant tick species was I. ricinus which was found in 483 times (94%) of the infestation cases. Ixodes hexagonus could be found 17 times (3%), followed by I. canisuga that was identified 12 times (2%). Only two D. reticulatus females (1%) could be found during the whole collection period. In two cases both tick species, I. ricinus and I. hexagonus could be found on the same individual.

The screening for the pathogens in questing ticks revealed that there is relatively low prevalence of LB spirochetes and a typical prevalence of B. miyamotoi within the ticks in this area of Germany compared to other European studies. However, Borrelia ssp. are still present and nevertheless there is a risk for humans and other mammalian species for becoming infected with the Lyme borreliosis and Relapsing Fever agents which has a great public health impact.

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