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Article

Borrelia Infections in Ageing Ticks: Relationship with Morphometric Age Ratio in Field-Collected Ixodes ricinus Nymphs

1
Institute for Parasitology, Centre for Infection Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, 30559 Hanover, Germany
2
Tick-Radar GmbH, 10555 Berlin, Germany
3
National Reference Center for Borrelia, Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority, 85764 Oberschleissheim, Germany
4
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, 80937 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Aránzazu Portillo
Microorganisms 2022, 10(1), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10010166
Received: 16 December 2021 / Revised: 5 January 2022 / Accepted: 11 January 2022 / Published: 13 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borrelia Ecology and Evolution: Ticks and Hosts and the Environment)
In Europe, Ixodes ricinus plays a major role as a vector of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) spirochaetes, the causative agents of Lyme borreliosis, among other pathogens. In unfed ticks, Borrelia spirochaetes experience prolonged nutrient restriction. However, only few studies exist with regard to Borrelia infections in unfed ticks of different physiological ages. Changing body dimensions of unfed ticks, due to the consumption of energy reserves, allow physiological age estimation. The present study investigated the relationship of morphometric age with Borrelia prevalence and spirochaete load in 1882 questing I. ricinus nymphs, collected at two different locations in northern Germany in 2020. In addition, Borrelia species composition was investigated by employing a reverse line blot (RLB) probe panel suitable for the detection of ten different B. burgdorferi s.l. species, as well as the relapsing-fever spirochaete B. miyamotoi. Overall, Borrelia prevalence was 25.8% (485/1882). Whilst there was no statistically significant difference in Borrelia prevalence between the different morphometric age groups, Borrelia infection intensity as determined by probe-based quantitative real-time PCR significantly declined with increasing morphometric age. Borrelia species differentiation by RLB was successful in 29.5% of positive ticks, and revealed B. afzelii as the dominating species (65.0% of the differentiated infections). Additionally, B. garinii, B. valaisiana, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. spielmanii, and B. miyamotoi were detected. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lyme borreliosis; tick-borne pathogens; Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.; Borrelia miyamotoi; biological age; morphometric age ratio Lyme borreliosis; tick-borne pathogens; Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.; Borrelia miyamotoi; biological age; morphometric age ratio
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MDPI and ACS Style

Springer, A.; Jordan, D.; Glass, A.; Kahl, O.; Fingerle, V.; Girl, P.; Chitimia-Dobler, L.; Strube, C. Borrelia Infections in Ageing Ticks: Relationship with Morphometric Age Ratio in Field-Collected Ixodes ricinus Nymphs. Microorganisms 2022, 10, 166. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10010166

AMA Style

Springer A, Jordan D, Glass A, Kahl O, Fingerle V, Girl P, Chitimia-Dobler L, Strube C. Borrelia Infections in Ageing Ticks: Relationship with Morphometric Age Ratio in Field-Collected Ixodes ricinus Nymphs. Microorganisms. 2022; 10(1):166. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10010166

Chicago/Turabian Style

Springer, Andrea, Daniela Jordan, Antje Glass, Olaf Kahl, Volker Fingerle, Philipp Girl, Lidia Chitimia-Dobler, and Christina Strube. 2022. "Borrelia Infections in Ageing Ticks: Relationship with Morphometric Age Ratio in Field-Collected Ixodes ricinus Nymphs" Microorganisms 10, no. 1: 166. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10010166

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