Prevalence of infection by Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. and spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae was estimated in host-seeking ticks in an area in Tuscany, central Italy, where Lyme borreliosis was reported in a forestry worker. B. burgdorferi s.l. was identified by polymerase chain reaction in 16.7% (95% CI = 10.3, 24.8) of Ixodes ricinus (L.) nymphs and 39.6% (95% CI = 26.5, 54.0) of adults. Borrelia lusitaniae accounted for 82.9% of positive samples, followed by Borrelia garinii (9.8%), Borrelia afzelii (2.4%), and Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. (2.4%). One Rhipicephalus spp. adult was infected with B. garinii (prevalence = 8.3%; 95% CI = 0.21, 38.5). Prevalence of infection by SFG rickettsiae was 38.5% (95% CI = 26.7, 51.4) in I. ricinus nymphs, 34.6% (95% CI = 22.0, 49.1) in I. ricinus adults, and 50% (95% CI = 21.1, 78.9) in Rhipicephalus spp. adults. Phylogenetic analysis showed the similarity of B. lusitaniae strains that were identified in this study and of a strain that was previously isolated from a human patient in Portugal. Results of this study confirm the dominance of B. lusitaniae in areas in the Mediterranean basin and the infection by SFG rickettsiae in I. ricinus.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2