First molecular evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in goats, sheep, cattle and camels in Tunisia
More details
Hide details
Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Ecole Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia
Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, Université de Carthage, Tunisia
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Italy
Laboratoire de Biotechnologie et Valorisation des Bio-Géo Ressources, Institut Supérieur de Biotechnologie de Sidi Thabet, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia
Corresponding author
Lilia Messadi   

Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Ecole Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de La Manouba, Tunisia
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2016;23(3):442-447
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) are tick-transmitted spirochaetes of veterinary and human importance. Molecular epidemiology data on ruminants are still lacking in most countries of the world. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the rate of B. burgdorferi s.l. infection in ruminants from Tunisia. A total of 1,021 ruminants (303 goats, 260 sheep, 232 cattle and 226 camels) from different bioclimatic areas in Tunisia were investigated for the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. DNA in blood by real time PCR. Prevalence rates were 30.4% (92/303) in goats, 6.2% (16/260) in sheep, 1.3% (3/232) in cattle, and 1.8% (4/226) in camels. Only tick species belonging to Rhipicephalus and Hyalomma genera were found on the investigated animals. In small ruminants, the prevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l. varied significantly according to localities and farms. Goats located in humid areas were statistically more infected than those located in sub-humid areas. Prevalence rates varied significantly according to age and breed in sheep, and age and tick infestation in goats. This study provides the first insight into the presence of B. burgdorferi s.l. DNA in ruminants in Tunisia, and demonstrates that host species such as goats and sheep may play an important role in natural Lyme disease cycles in this country.
Kybicová K, Kurzová Z, Hulínská D. Molecular and serological evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in wild rodents in the Czech Republic. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2008; 8: 645–652.
Burgess EC, Gendron-Fitzpatrick A, Wright WO. Arthritis and systemic disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi infection in a cow. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1987; 191: 1468–1470.
Cohen ND, Heck FC, Heim B, et al.Seroprevalence of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in a population of horses in central Texas. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1992; 201: 1030–1034.
Levy SA, Dreesen DW. Lyme borreliosis in dogs. Canine practice 1992; 17: 5–14.
Baranton G, De Martino SJ. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato diversity and its influence on pathogenicity in humans. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2009; 37: 1–17.
Rudenko N, Golovchenko M, Lin T, et al. Delineation of a new species of the Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato Complex, Borrelia americana sp. nov. J Clin Microbiol. 2009a; 47: 3875–3880.
Rudenko N, Golovchenko M, Grubhoffer L, Oliver JHJ. Borrelia carolinensis sp. nov., a new (14th) member of the Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato complex from the southeastern region of the United States. J Clin Microbiol. 2009b; 47: 134–141.
Stanek G,Reiter M. The expanding Lyme Borrelia complex--clinical significance of genomic species? Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011; 17: 487–493.
Fridriksdottir V, Overnes G, Stuen S. Suspected Lyme borreliosis in sheep. Vet Record 1992; 130: 323–324.
Parker JL, White KK. Lyme borreliosis in cattle and horses: A review of the literature. Cornell Vet. 1992; 82: 253–274.
Burgess EC. Borrelia burgdorferi infection in Wisconsin horses and cows. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1988; 539: 235–243.
Jaenson TG, Tälleklint L. Lyme borreliosis spirochetes in Ixodes ricinus (Acari:Ixodidae) and the varying hare on isolated islands in the Baltic, Sea. J Med Entomol. 1996; 33: 339–343.
Rijpkema SG, Herbes RG, Verbeek-De Kruif N, Schellekens JF. Detection of four species of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Ixodes ricinus ticks collected from roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in the Netherlands. Epidemiol Infect. 1996; 117: 563–566.
Gern L, Rais O. Efficient transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi between cofeeding Ixodes ricinus ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). J Med Entomol. 1996; 33: 189–192.
Ogden NH, Nuttall PA, Randolph SE. Natural Lyme disease cycles maintained via sheep by co-feeding ticks. Parasitology 1997; 115: 591–599.
Bouattour A, Darghouth MA, Daoud A. Distribution and ecology of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting livestock in Tunisia: an overview of eighth years field collections. Parassitologia 1999; 41: 5–10.
Younsi H, Postic D, Baranton G, Bouattour A. High prevalence of Borrelia lusitaniae in Ixodes ricinus ticks in Tunisia. Eur J Epidemiol. 2001; 17: 53–56.
Sarih M, Jouda F, Gern L, Postic D. First isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato from Ixodes ricinus ticks in Morocco. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2003; 3, 133–139.
Collares-Pereira M, Couceiro S, Franca I, et al. First isolation of Borrelia lusitaniae from a human patient. J Clin Microbiol. 2004; 42: 1316–1318.
Piesman J, Gern L. Lyme borreliosis in Europe and North America. Parasitology 2004; 129: 191–220.
Gray JS, Kahl O, Lane RS, Stanek G. Lyme borreliosis: biology, epidemiology and control. CABI Publishing, Oxford, England 2002; p. 251.
Courtney JW, Kostelnik LM, Zeidner NS, Massung RF. Multiplex real-time PCR for detection of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia burgdorferi. J Clin Microbiol. 2004; 42: 3164–3168.
Walker AR, Bouattour A, Camicas J-L, et al. Ticks of domestic animals in Africa: A guide to identification of species. Bioscience reports. Part 4: species of ticks 2013; p. 45–221.
Chu CY, Jiang BG, Qiu EC, et al. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in sheep keds (Melophagus ovinus), Tibet, China. Vet Microbiol. 2011; 149: 526–529.
Fu Y, Liu Z, Guan G, et al. Development of real-time polymerase chain reaction for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in China. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2012; 12: 341–345.
Helmy N. Seasonal abundance of Ornithodorus (O.) savignyi and prevalence of infection with Borrelia spirochetesin Egypt. J Egypt SocParasitol. 2000; 30: 607–619.
Tuncer D, Öğünç D, Çolak D, et al. Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies in urban and high risk areas. Turk J Infect. 1999; 13: 325–328.
Trávnicek M, Stefancíková A, Nadzamová D, et al. Seroprevalence of anti-Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies in sheep and goats from mountainous areas of Slovakia. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2002; 9: 153–155.
Ciceroni L, Simeoni J, Pacetti AI, et al. Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in sheep and goats. Alto Adige – South Tyrol, Italy. New Microbiol. 1996; 19: 171–174.
Li ZG, Ma FH, Wu MY. Study on Lyme disease in the Limpan Mountains of Ningxia. Chin J Vector Biol Control 1997; 8: 441–443.
Hua MT, Lin T, Lin CL. Studies on the seroepidemiology of Lyme disease of human and animals in Arlartai area of Xinjiang province. Chin J Vector Biol Control 1998; 9: 268–270.
Ciceroni L, Bartoloni A, Ciarrocchi S, et al. Serologic survey for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in sheep, goats and dogs in Cordillera Province, Bolivia. Zentralbl Veterinarmed B 1997; 44: 133–137.
Long J, Lin T, Li WB. Investigation on human and animal Lyme disease in Shanggao County of Jiangxi Province. Chin J Vector Biol Control 1999; 10: 45–47.
Zhang DR, Lin T, Li Q. Investigation on the seroepidemiology of Lyme disease in Anhui province. Chin. J. Vector Biol. Control 1998; 9: 265–267.
Jensen PM, Frandsen F. Temporal risk assesment for Lyme borreliosis in Denmark. Scand J Infect Dis. 2009; 32: 539–544.
Juricová Z, Hubálek Z. Serologic survey of the wild boar (Sus scrofa) for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2009; 9: 479–482.
Vennestrøm J, Egholm H, Jensen PM. Occurrence of multiple infections with different Borrelia burgdorferi genospecies in Danish Ixodes ricinus nymphs. Parasitol Int. 2008; 57: 32–37.
Magnarelli LA, Anderson JF. Ticks and biting insects infected with the etiologic agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. J Clin Microbiol. 1988; 26: 1482–1486.
Zhioua E, Bouattour A, Hu CM, et al. Infection of Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in North Africa. J Med Entomol. 1999; 36: 216–218.
Bouattour A, Ghorbel A, Chabchoub A, Postic D. [Lyme borreliosis situation in North Africa]. Arch Inst Pasteur Tunis 2004; 81: 13–20.
Younsi H, Sarih M, Jouda F, et al. Characterization of Borrelia lusitaniae isolates collected in Tunisia and Morocco. J Clin Microbiol. 2005; 43: 1587–1593.
Fingerle V, Michel H, Hettche G, et al. Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. OspA-types are widespread in Bavaria but show distinct local patterns. Int J Med Microbiol. 2004; 293: 165–166.
Rauter C, Hartung T. Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies in Ixodes ricinus ticks in Europe: a metaanalysis. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005; 71: 7203–7216.
Eisen L, Eisen RJ, Lane RS. Geographical distribution patterns and habitat suitability models for presence of host-seeking ixodid ticks in dense woodlands of Mendocino County, California. J Med Entomol. 2006; 43: 415–427.
Ekner A, Dudek K, Sajkowska Z, et al. Anaplasmataceae and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in the sand lizard Lacerta agilis and co-infection of these bacteria in hosted Ixodes ricinus ticks. Parasit Vectors 2011; 4: 182.
Ben Salem H, Lassoued N, Rekik M. Merits of the fat-tailed Barbarine sheep raised in different production systems in Tunisia: digestive, productive and reproductive characteristics. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2011; 43: 1357–1370.
Guedes DSJ, Araújo FR, Silva FJ, et al. Frequency of antibodies to Babesia bigemina, B. bovis, Anaplasma marginale, Trypanosoma vivax and Borrelia burgdorferi in cattle from the Northeastern region of the State of Pará, Brazil. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet. 2008; 17: 105–109.
Krampitz HE, Bark S. [Epidemiology of Ixodes-Borreliosis in Southern Germany]. Immun Infekt. 1987; 15: 141–145.
Stefancíková A, Stĕpánová G, Derdáková M, etal. Serological evidence for Borrelia burgdorferi infection associated with clinical signs in dairy cattle in Slovakia. Vet Res Commun. 2002; 26: 601–611.
Takahashi K, Isogai E, Isogai H, et al. Serological survey for Borrelia burgdorferi infection in cattle in southern Hokkaido. J Vet Med Sci. 1993; 55: 921–924.
Ji B, Collins MT. Seroepidemiologic survey of Borrelia burgdorferi exposure of dairy cattle in Wisconsin. Am J Vet Res. 1994; 55: 1228–1231.
Magnarelli LA, Bushmich SL, Sherman BA, Fikrig E. A comparison of serologic tests for the detection of serum antibodies to whole-cell and recombinant Borrelia burgdorferi antigens in cattle. Can Vet J. 2004; 45: 667–673.
Buschmich SL. Lyme borreliosis in domestic animals. J Spirochet Tick-borne Dis. 1994; 1: 24–28.
Gern L. Life cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and transmission to humans. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2009; 37: 18–30.
Gray JS, Kahl O, Janetzki C, et al. The spatial distribution of Borrelia burgdorferi infected Ixodes ricinus in the Connemara region of County Galway, Ireland. Exp ApplAcarol. 1995; 19: 163–172.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top