In the present study, the seroprevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in roe deer in relation to different parameters in northwestern Spain was investigated. A total of 154 roe deer hunted between April 2007 and October 2008 from different localities of Galicia (northwest Spain) were examined. From each animal, a blood sample and all attached ticks found were collected. All the specimens for tick stages (larva, nymph, and adult) were speciated based on reference keys. Antibodies against B. burgdorferi were detected by indirect immunofluorescence (titer ≥ 1:64). The percentage of roe deer seropositive for B. burgdorferi was 68.8% (106/154), of which 88.7% (94/106) were parasitized by ticks. Ixodes ricinus was the only species identified and was detected in 83.1% of roe deer with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) intensity of 46 ± 47 ticks. Individual host characteristics such as age or sex did not have any effect on the prevalence of B. burgdorferi, but significant seasonal variation was observed, with higher prevalences in April–July than in August–October. Antibodies against B. burgdorferi were related to the presence of ticks. When analyzing all the factors together, the total number of ticks parasitizing roe deer was found as the most influential factor on B. burgdorferi prevalence. The results of this study have shown that roe deer in the northwest of Spain are highly exposed to B. burgdorferi and that exposure is related to the presence of I. ricinus.
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