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Prevalence of granulocytic Ehrlichia and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from Southwestern Finland and from Vormsi Island in Estonia

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Mäkinen J, Vuorinen I, Oksi J, Peltomaa M, He Q, Marjamäki M, Viljanen MK. Prevalence of granulocytic Ehrlichia and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from Southwestern Finland and from Vormsi Island in Estonia. APMIS 2003;111:355–62.

Altogether, 343 adult and 111 nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from parks in Turku and suburban and rural islands of the Turku archipelago, Finland, and 100 adult I. ricinus ticks collected from Vormsi Island, Estonia, were included in this study. Using the polymerase chain reaction the ticks were examined for 16S rDNA of the Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup and for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato recA and flagellin genes. None of the Finnish ticks was found to be infected with E. phagocytophila, whereas 3% of the Estonian ticks were positive for this organism. The rate of Finnish ticks infected with B. burgdorferi sensu lato varied from 0% to 11.6% (mean 5%; 9% for adult and 4% for nymphal ticks). The corresponding rate for Estonian ticks was 15%. Borrelia afzelii was the most common genospecies in both Finnish (2.6%) and Estonian (12%) ticks. B. burgdorferi sensu stricto was detected in 2.0% of the Finnish ticks, but in none of the Estonian ticks. These results suggest that the E. phagocytophila genogroup is very rare in Finnish ticks, although the ticks were collected from an area endemic for Lyme borreliosis. In Estonia, E. phagocytophila is found in ticks and may cause disease.
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Keywords: Borrelia; Ehrlichia; Prevalence; polymerase chain reaction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Archipelago Research Institute, 2: Department of Otolaryngology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland 3: National Public Health Institute of Finland, Department in Turku,

Publication date: 01 February 2003

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