Relapsing fever group borrelia in southern California rodents

Nathan C Nieto, Mike B. Teglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wild rodent reservoir host species were surveyed prospectively for infection with Borrelia hermsii, the causative agent of tick-borne relapsing fever in the western United States. Trapping occurred during the summer of 2009-2012 at field sites surrounding Big Bear Lake, CA, a region where human infection has been reported for many years. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), we tested 207 rodents from 11 species and found chipmunks (Tamias spp.) and a woodrat (Neotoma macrotis) infected. Chipmunks represented the majority of captures at these sites. Sixteen of the 207 (7.7%; CI = 4.6-12.4) animals were qPCR-positive for Borrelia spp. associated with relapsing fever, and of those, we obtained bacterial DNA sequences from eight. The phylogram made from these sequences depict a clear association with B. hermsii genomic group I. In addition, we identified an infection with Borrelia coriaceae in a Tamias merriami, a potentially nonpathogenic member of the tick-borne relapsing fever group. Our findings support the hypothesis that chipmunk species play an important role in the maintenance of Borrelia species that cause tick-borne relapsing fever in the western United States, and therefore the risk of infection to people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1034
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Relapsing Fever
Tamias
Borrelia
Sciuridae
Ornithodoros
fever
Rodentia
rodents
Borrelia hermsii
Borrelia Infections
ticks
Western United States
infection
Borrelia coriaceae
quantitative polymerase chain reaction
Sigmodontinae
Neotoma
Ursidae
Bacterial DNA
Polymerase Chain Reaction

Keywords

  • Borrelia hermsii
  • chipmunk
  • endemic foci
  • Ornithodoros spp.
  • Tamias spp.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • veterinary(all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology

Cite this

Relapsing fever group borrelia in southern California rodents. / Nieto, Nathan C; Teglas, Mike B.

In: Journal of Medical Entomology, Vol. 51, No. 5, 2014, p. 1029-1034.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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