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10 December 2019 Experimental Demonstration of Reservoir Competence of the White-Footed Mouse, Peromyscus leucopus (Rodentia: Cricetidae), for the Lyme Disease Spirochete, Borrelia mayonii (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae)
Christina M. Parise, Nicole E. Breuner, Andrias Hojgaard, Lynn M. Osikowicz, Adam J. Replogle, Rebecca J. Eisen, Lars Eisen
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Abstract

The white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque), is a reservoir for the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto in the eastern half of the United States, where the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae), is the primary vector. In the Midwest, an additional Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia mayonii, was recorded from naturally infected I. scapularis and P. leucopus. However, an experimental demonstration of reservoir competence was lacking for a natural tick host. We therefore experimentally infected P. leucopus with B. mayonii via I. scapularis nymphal bites and then fed uninfected larvae on the mice to demonstrate spirochete acquisition and passage to resulting nymphs. Of 23 mice fed on by B. mayonii-infected nymphs, 21 (91%) developed active infections. The infection prevalence for nymphs fed as larvae on these infected mice 4 wk post-infection ranged from 56 to 98%, and the overall infection prevalence for 842 nymphs across all 21 P. leucopus was 75% (95% confidence interval, 72–77%). To assess duration of infectivity, 10 of the P. leucopus were reinfested with uninfected larval ticks 12 wk after the mice were infected. The overall infection prevalence for 480 nymphs across all 10 P. leucopus at the 12-wk time point was 26% (95% confidence interval, 23–31%), when compared with 76% (95% confidence interval, 71–79%) for 474 nymphs from the same subset of 10 mice at the 4-wk time point. We conclude that P. leucopus is susceptible to infection with B. mayonii via bite by I. scapularis nymphs and an efficient reservoir for this Lyme disease spirochete.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2019. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Christina M. Parise, Nicole E. Breuner, Andrias Hojgaard, Lynn M. Osikowicz, Adam J. Replogle, Rebecca J. Eisen, and Lars Eisen "Experimental Demonstration of Reservoir Competence of the White-Footed Mouse, Peromyscus leucopus (Rodentia: Cricetidae), for the Lyme Disease Spirochete, Borrelia mayonii (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae)," Journal of Medical Entomology 57(3), 927-932, (10 December 2019). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjz242
Received: 7 October 2019; Accepted: 18 November 2019; Published: 10 December 2019
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