During the years 1999–2002, a total of 4,898 individuals of 26 species of hematophagous insects (4,149 mosquitoes, 583 black flies, and 166 tabanid flies) was examined for the presence of spirochetes using dark-field microscopy. There was an overall recovery of spirochetes from the midguts of Culicidae and Simuliidae of 23.5% and 11.4%, respectively. Spirochetes were not detected in Tabanidae. Seven spirochetal strains have been successfully recovered from mosquitoes and black flies: BR149 (Culex pipiens), BR151 (Cx. pipiens), BR173 (Cx. pipiens), BR177 (Cx. pipiens), BR193 (Aedes cinereus), BR208 (Cx. pipiens), and BR231 (Simulium noelleri). The strains have been adapted to laboratory conditions (BSK-H Complete medium). Their preliminary determination based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing has shown that they differ from the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato as well as other members of the Order Spirochaetales indicating novel bacterial species in the Family Spirochaetaceae.
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