Title

Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes affinis in Southeastern Virginia

Presenting Author Name/s

Anna Phan

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Wayne Hynes

Presentation Type

Poster

Disciplines

Biology

Description/Abstract

Lyme disease, the result of infection by the tick-borne pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi, affects thousands of people per year in the United States. The pathogen is primarily transmitted by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Ixodes scapularis, along with another vector, Ixodes affinis, are known to be established in southeastern Virginia. This study determines prevalence of B. burgdorferi within these ticks. Presence of the pathogen in these ticks could be an indicator of the risk of human B. burgdorferi infections in southeastern Virginia. Questing I. scapularis and I. affinis were collected by flagging at various field sites between 2010 and 2012. The presence of Borrelia spp. was determined by screening extracted DNA from the collected ticks using real-time PCR. Identification of Borrelia spp. positive by real time was determined by the sequencing the ospC gene. A real-time PCR assay was used to differentiate I. scapularis and I. affinis, with sequencing was done to confirm results. This study shows a notable percentage of Borrelia infections in both tick species, with a much higher percentage in I. affinis. Ixodes affinis acts as a reservoir for the pathogen and contributes to the increased prevalence of Borrelia within southeastern Virginia. Further research and surveillance is needed on these disease vectors and the pathogens they carry.

Session Title

Poster Session

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Start Date

3-2-2018 8:00 AM

End Date

3-2-2018 12:30 PM

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Feb 3rd, 8:00 AM Feb 3rd, 12:30 PM

Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes affinis in Southeastern Virginia

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Lyme disease, the result of infection by the tick-borne pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi, affects thousands of people per year in the United States. The pathogen is primarily transmitted by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Ixodes scapularis, along with another vector, Ixodes affinis, are known to be established in southeastern Virginia. This study determines prevalence of B. burgdorferi within these ticks. Presence of the pathogen in these ticks could be an indicator of the risk of human B. burgdorferi infections in southeastern Virginia. Questing I. scapularis and I. affinis were collected by flagging at various field sites between 2010 and 2012. The presence of Borrelia spp. was determined by screening extracted DNA from the collected ticks using real-time PCR. Identification of Borrelia spp. positive by real time was determined by the sequencing the ospC gene. A real-time PCR assay was used to differentiate I. scapularis and I. affinis, with sequencing was done to confirm results. This study shows a notable percentage of Borrelia infections in both tick species, with a much higher percentage in I. affinis. Ixodes affinis acts as a reservoir for the pathogen and contributes to the increased prevalence of Borrelia within southeastern Virginia. Further research and surveillance is needed on these disease vectors and the pathogens they carry.