Wild rodent reservoir host species were surveyed prospectively for infection with Borrelia hermsii, the causative agent of tick-borne relapsing fever in the western United States. Trapping occurred during the summer of 2009–2012 at field sites surrounding Big Bear Lake, CA, a region where human infection has been reported for many years. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), we tested 207 rodents from 11 species and found chipmunks (Tamias spp.) and a woodrat (Neotoma macrotis) infected. Chipmunks represented the majority of captures at these sites. Sixteen of the 207 (7.7%; CI = 4.6–12.4) animals were qPCR-positive for Borrelia spp. associated with relapsing fever, and of those, we obtained bacterial DNA sequences from eight. The phylogram made from these sequences depict a clear association with B. hermsii genomic group I. In addition, we identified an infection with Borrelia coriaceae in a Tamias merriami, a potentially nonpathogenic member of the tick-borne relapsing fever group. Our findings support the hypothesis that chipmunk species play an important role in the maintenance of Borrelia species that cause tick-borne relapsing fever in the western United States, and therefore the risk of infection to people.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 51 • No. 5