Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genetic markers in blood-sucking ticks in suburban park zones in Saint Petersburg

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Abstract

Tick-borne bacterial and viral infections are widespread in middle latitudes of the Northern hemisphere. Natural foci of such infections coincide with geographic areas inhabited by ixodid ticks. Ixodid tick-borne borreliosis is a pressing issue for some territories of Russia, especially for the North-Western Federal District and St. Petersburg megalopolis as well as adjacent areas of the Leningrad District, where people may become infected after tick bite in recreational zones in suburban park areas. Currently, very few publications regarding prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in St. Petersburg area are available. In our study, questing ticks flagged in park zone (northern coast of Finnish Gulf, Kurortny District) were examined with PCR for carriage of pathogenic B. burgdorferi sensu lato complex. In addition, samples positive for Borrelia DNA signal were further genotyped with species-specific primers against rpoBgene fragment. It was found that Ixodes persulcatus dominated in this area. Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. complex comprised 9.33%. Genospecies B. afzelii and less frequently B. garinii were detected. A mixt-infection with two Borel-lia species was detected in one sample. Interestingly, all Borrelia-infected ticks belonged to I. persulcatus suggesting a closer association for certain species in «pathogen-vector» system. Our findings are essential in investigating distribution of ixodid borreliosis foci in St. Petersburg and suburbs, obtaining new data regarding epidemiology, diagnostics, treatment and prevention of this infection. It is noteworthy than prevalence of pathogenic Borrelia spp. vs. tick-borne encephalitis virus in vectors was higher thereby accounting for its higher morbidity. Comparing our data with those published elsewhere by European researchers allows to note that prevalence of pathogenic Borrelia spp. in ticks varies broadly in diverse geographic regions. It is necessary to take into consideration that prevalence of Borrelia markers achieves ~10% in ticks given frequent attendance of park areas near St. Petersburg that point at risk of developing bor-reliosis in recreational zones.

About the authors

Yu. A. Panferova

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

Author for correspondence.
Email: ersvart@inbox.ru

Yulia A. Panferova - Junior Researcher, Laboratory of Zoonoses.

197101, St. Petersburg, Mira str., 14, Phone: +7 (812) 232-21-36 (office), Fax: +7 (812) 233-20-92

Russian Federation

A. N. Vaganova

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

Email: zoonoses@mail.ru

Researcher, Laboratory of Biomolecular Technologies, Department of New Technologies.

St. Petersburg

Russian Federation

O. A. Freylikhman

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

Email: zoonoses@mail.ru

PhD (Biology), Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biological Techniques.

St. Petersburg

Russian Federation

K. A. Tretyakov

Zoological Intstitute, RAS

Email: zoonoses@mail.ru

PhD (Biology), Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Parasitology.

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

S. G. Medvedev

Zoological Intstitute, RAS

Email: zoonoses@mail.ru

PhD, MD (Biology), Head of Laboratory of Parasitology.

St. Petersburg

Russian Federation

A. O. Shapar’

Center for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance in St. Petersburg

Email: zoonoses@mail.ru

Head of Parasitological Department.

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

N. K. Tokarevich

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

Email: zoonoses@mail.ru

Tokarevich N.K., PhD, MD (Medicine), Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Zoonoses, St. Petersburg PI; Professor, Department of Epidemiology, North-Western SMU named after I.I. Mechnikov.

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

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Copyright (c) 2020 Panferova Y.A., Vaganova A.N., Freylikhman O.A., Tretyakov K.A., Medvedev S.G., Shapar’ A.O., Tokarevich N.K.

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