Occurrence of Borrelia and Borreliella species in Ixodes ricinus collected from roe deer in northwestern Spain

P Díaz, S Remesar, J M Venzal, M E Vázquez-López, G Fernández, C López, P Díez-Baños, P Morrondo, R Panadero
Medical and Veterinary Entomology 2019 February 7
Ixodes ricinus, comprising the predominant tick species in Europe, can transmit important human pathogens, including Borreliella spp., the causal agent of Lyme borreliosis. One hundred and seventy five roe deer hunted in two areas (plateau and mountain) of Galicia (northwest Spain) were examined for the presence of ticks; all roe deer were infested by I. ricinus. Nymphs (n = 1000), males (n = 1449) and females (n = 1000) of I. ricinus were analysed in pools of up to 10 ticks to detect both Borreliella and Borrelia DNA. The average number of I. ricinus per roe deer was similar in both areas, regardless of the life stage; although the percentage of Borreliella and Borrelia positive pools was higher in ticks collected from roe deer hunted in the plateau area, no significant differences were detected. Sequence analysis at the flagellin gene allowed the identification of four Borreliella species (Borreliella afzelii, Borreliella garinii, Borreliella lusitaniae and Borreliella valaisiana) and Borrelia miyamotoi in adult males; only B. valaisiana and B. miyamotoi were detected in nymphs and all females were negative. All Borreliella and Borrelia species found in roe deer were previously identified in questing I. ricinus collected in the same study area, although the prevalence was lower in the present study. The analysis of male I. ricinus ticks collected from roe deer gives a good estimation of Borreliella diversity in questing ticks.

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