Detection of Borrelia miyamotoi and other tick-borne pathogens in human clinical specimens and Ixodes scapularis ticks in New York State, 2012–2015
Abstract Borrelia miyamotoi ( Bm ) is a recently emerging bacterial agent transmitted by several species of ixodid ticks. Diagnosis of Bm infection can be challenging, as the organism is not easily cultivable. We have developed and validated a multiplex real-time PCR to simultaneously identify Bm infection and the agents causing human granulocytic anaplasmosis and human monocytic ehrlichiosis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia chaffeensis , respectively. The assay is 100% specific; highly sensitive, detecting 11 gene copies of Bm DNA in both whole blood and cerebral spinal fluid; and provides rapid results in less than two hours. A retrospective study of 796 clinical specimens collected between the years 2012 and 2014 and a prospective study of 366 clinical specimens were performed utilizing this novel assay to evaluate the frequency of Bm infection in New York State (NYS). Eight clinical specimens (1%) were found to be positive for Bm , 216 were positive for A. phagocytophilum, and 10 were positive for E. chaffeensis. Additionally, we tested 411 I. scapularis ticks collected in NYS during 2013 and 2014 in a separate multiplex real-time PCR to determine the prevalence of Bm, A. phagocytophilum , Borrelia burgdorferi s.s., and Borrelia species. Our results indicated rates of 1.5%, 27%, 19.7%, and 8.8% respectively. The ability to monitor both the frequency and geographic distribution of Bm cases and the prevalence and geographic distribution of Bm in ticks will help create a better understanding of this emerging tick-borne pathogen.
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