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1 July 2004 Detection and Characterization of Borrelia bissettii in Rodents from the Central California Coast
Larisa K. Vredevoe, Jennifer R. Stevens, Bradley S. Schneider
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This is the first report of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in rodents from San Luis Obispo county, with most isolates obtained from a previously unreported host, Neotoma lepida Thomas. B. burgdorferi sensu lato was identified in seven rodent species, including the California vole, Microtus californicus Peale; dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes Baird; desert woodrat, Neotoma lepida Thomas; brush mouse, Peromyscus boylii Baird; California mouse, Peromyscus californicus Gambel; deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus Wagner; and western harvest mouse, Reithrodontomys megalotis Baird. Ear punch biopsies were cultured in BSK-H medium from 179 rodents trapped at six different study sites. Overall, prevalence of rodent infection was 44/179 (24.6%), with 34 of these isolates from N. lepida. Spirochete isolates were obtained from rodents at all study sites, indicating widespread prevalence of B. burgdorferi sensu lato across rodent species and habitats. Nucleotide sequences for 14 of these isolates have been submitted to GenBank. Isolates from three N. lepida and one P. boylii had identical flagellin gene sequences, and phylogenetic analysis placed these spirochetes in B. burgdorferi sensu lato group DN127, now known as B. bissettii Postic, Marti Ras, Lane, Hendson & Baranton. Additional sequencing of the intergenic spacer regions between the 5S and 23S ribosomal genes was performed on three of these isolates. Phylogenetic analysis separated these isolates into two clusters that grouped with Colorado or California isolates. The role of B. bissettii and related species other than B. burgdorferi sensu stricto Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner as human pathogens in the United States warrants further investigation.

Larisa K. Vredevoe, Jennifer R. Stevens, and Bradley S. Schneider "Detection and Characterization of Borrelia bissettii in Rodents from the Central California Coast," Journal of Medical Entomology 41(4), 736-745, (1 July 2004).
Received: 28 October 2003; Accepted: 1 February 2004; Published: 1 July 2004

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Borrelia bissettii
Borrelia burgdorferi
Lyme disease
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