Research Summary: Detection and Genetic Characterization of Relapsing Fever Spirochete Borrelia miyamotoi in Estonian Ticks
During the years 2008–2010 I. ricinus and I. persulcatus ticks were collected from 64 sites in mainland Estonia and on the island Saaremaa. Presence of B. miyamotoi was found in 0.9% (23/2622) of ticks. The prevalence in I. persulcatus and I. ricinus ticks differed significantly, 2.7% (15/561) and 0.4% (8/2061), respectively. The highest prevalence rates were in found South-Eastern Estonia in an area of I. persulcatus and I. ricinus sympatry and varied from 1.4% (1/73) to 2.8% (5/178). Co-infections with B. burgdorferi s.l. group spirochetes and tick-borne encephalitis virus were also revealed. Genetic characterization of partial 16S rRNA, p66 and glpQ genes demonstrated that Estonian sequences belong to two types of B. miyamotoi and cluster with sequences from Europe and the European part of Russia, as well as with sequences from Siberia, Asia and Japan, here designated as European and Asian types, respectively. Estonian sequences of the European type were obtained from I. ricinus ticks only, whereas the Asian type of B. miyamotoi was shown for both tick species in the sympatric regions.