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Paper Details

Assessment of an Immersion Technique for Generating of Borrelia burgdorferi-Infected and Infectious Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes ricinus Ticks

Djamel Tahir, Alec Evans, Nouha Lekouch, Frans Jongejan, Valérie Choumet, Byron Blagburn, Reinhard K Straubinger and Marie Varloud

Journal Title:Acta Scientific Microbiology

Experimental infection of ticks with pathogens such as spirochetes of the genus Borrelia (B.), is a critical step to better under-stand the mechanisms and the kinetics of infection. At present, four procedures for infection of ticks with B. burgdorferi have been described: (i) feeding ticks on infected rodents; (ii) tick immersion in a solution containing the spirochetes; (iii) microinjection of spi-rochetesdirectly into the tick gut and (iv) capillary or membrane feeding of ticks with a solution or blood containing Borrelia species. organisms. To reduce the use of live animals and for standardization of the conditions of experiments, the three latter procedures are recommended. The present study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of an immersion procedure to generate B. burgdorferi-infect-ed ticks and determine whether Ixodes scapularis and I. ricinus ticks were infective to dogs. Pathogen free, unfed larvae (I. scapularisand I. ricinus) and nymphs (I. scapularis) were immersed in BSK-H medium containing approximately 107B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (strain B31) organisms per mL. Immersed ticks were then fed to repletion on rabbits and held under optimum environmental condi-tions (22°C and 80 ± 10% relative humidity) for moulting. The infection rate in ticks was determined after moulting by qPCR, while their potential infectivity was evaluated on dogs. It was found that immersed larvae and nymphs acquired spirochetes. The spirochet-es were detected by qPCR in 18.7% and 37.5% of adult I. ricinus and I. scapularis,respectively. For nymphs, B. burgdorferi-specific DNA was detected in each of three pools of 20 I. scapularis. Nevertheless, all infested dogs remained seronegative during the three months after infestation and no clinical signs of borreliosis were detected