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Home » Archive » 2014

TDK conference 2014

Is the Northern white-breasted hedgehog reservoir of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato bacteria?
Gajdos Mónika - year 5
SZIU Faculty of Veterinary Scinece, Deparment of Parasitology and Zoology
Supervisor: Dr. Gábor Földvári

Abstract:

The Northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) is an endemic small mammal in Hungary, which successfully adapts to urban habitats. Previous studies showed the potential role of hedgehogs in the epidemiology of Lyme borreliosis, because they often carry ticks and they can be infected by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes. The aim of this study was to verify the role of the Northern white-breasted hedgehog in the maintenance of B. burgdorferi s.l. bacteria life cycle.

Materials and methods: To answer our question we applied xenodiagnosis, the only appropriate method. We examined the ear biopsy of eight rescued hedgehogs with molecular methods to find the B. burgdorferi s.l infection. We selected two infected hedgehogs for the xenodiagnostic experiments. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing confirmed that they were infected with Borrelia afzelii. During the experiment we put specific pathogen-free (SPF) larvae from a laboratory colony on the infected hedgehogs. After they engorged, we collected them and waited for molting in to the nymphal stage. We used PCR to detect B. burgdorferi s.l DNA in the molted nymphs.

Results: We collected 40 fully engorged larvae from the first infected hedgehog and 64 from the other one. The larvae were put into a thermostat with sufficient humidity and after they molted to nymphal stage we extracted the DNA individually with alkaline hydrolysis. All samples examined with PCR targeting B. burgdorferi s.l. infection were negative.

In our pilot study, we were not able to prove the reservoir role of the Northern white-breasted hedgehog in the life cycle of B. burgdorferi s.l. bacteria. Further studies are needed to test this phenomenon and to specify the experimental method.



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