Borrelia lonestari infection after a bite by an Amblyomma americanum tick

J Infect Dis. 2001 Jun 15;183(12):1810-4. doi: 10.1086/320721. Epub 2001 May 17.


Erythematous rashes that are suggestive of early Lyme disease have been associated with the bite of Amblyomma americanum ticks, particularly in the southern United States. However, Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, has not been cultured from skin biopsy specimens from these patients, and diagnostic serum antibodies usually have not been found. Borrelia lonestari sp nov, an uncultured spirochete, has been detected in A. americanum ticks by DNA amplification techniques, but its role in human illness is unknown. We observed erythema migrans in a patient with an attached A. americanum tick. DNA amplification of the flagellin gene flaB produced B. lonestari sequences from the skin of the patient that were identical to those found in the attached tick. B. lonestari is a probable cause of erythema migrans in humans.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Base Sequence
  • Biopsy
  • Bites and Stings / complications*
  • Borrelia / genetics
  • Borrelia / immunology
  • Borrelia / isolation & purification*
  • Borrelia Infections / diagnosis
  • Borrelia Infections / etiology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Erythema Chronicum Migrans / etiology*
  • Gene Amplification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Ticks*
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • DNA, Bacterial