Faculté des sciences

Early detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato infection in Balb/c mice by co-feeding Ixodes ricinus ticks

Hu, Chang Min ; Cheminade, Yves ; Perret, Jean-Luc ; Weynants, Vincent ; Lobet, Yves ; Gern, Lise

In: International Journal of Medical Microbiology, 2003, vol. 293, p. 421-426

In Europe, Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted by Ixodes ricinus to animals and human. When infected and uninfected ticks co-feed on a host, spirochetes are transmitted from ticks to animal and also to uninfected ticks. Here, we used uninfected ticks to co-feed with infected ticks on mice to evaluate this method to detect early infection in mice. A total of 128 mice were challenged... More

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    Summary
    In Europe, Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted by Ixodes ricinus to animals and human. When infected and uninfected ticks co-feed on a host, spirochetes are transmitted from ticks to animal and also to uninfected ticks. Here, we used uninfected ticks to co-feed with infected ticks on mice to evaluate this method to detect early infection in mice. A total of 128 mice were challenged by infected nymphs placed in capsules glued on the back of the mice. Three days later uninfected larvae were added in the capsule to co-feed with infected nymphs and were examined for Borrelia infection after natural detachment. Infection in mice was also determined by xenodiagnosis and by spirochete isolation from ear skin biopsy and back skin biopsy taken at the tick attachment site one month after infection. A total of 111 mice were found to be infected by at least one of these four methods. Borrelia infection was observed in 95% of mice by the co-feeding method, in 92% of mice by xenodiagnosis, in 69% and in 68% of mice by cultivation of ear and back skin biopsies, respectively. Our results demonstrate that the co-feeding method is a very sensitive method which can be used to detect very early infection in mice infected by tick bites.