Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in birds ticks

MARE, of Coimbra, in collaboration with the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge developed a study to determe the predominance of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. (etiological agent of Lyme borreliosis, present in ticks collected from birds) in Europe.

According to the results, the robin turdus pilaris and the blackbird T. merula are the species of birds that transport the most infected ticks. And the most common Borrelia species detected in the ticks collected from birds was Borrelia garinii, a genospecies pathogenic to humans and associated with the transmission of Lyme borreliosis.

This study “contributed to a better understanding of the ecology and evolution of Borrelia garinii transmitted by ticks, demonstrating that the role of birds in the dissemination of the etiological agent of this disease cannot be neglected, because they contribute to a large-scale spatial mixture of the various strains Borrelia may lead to the evolution of new variants”, explains Isabel Lopes de Carvalho, adding that “this is essential to help assess the risk of disease”.

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Image: Hugo Guímaro