Transfer of Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. infection via blood transfusion in a murine model

J Parasitol. 2006 Aug;92(4):869-70. doi: 10.1645/GE-833R.1.


Without antibiotic treatment, the Lyme-disease-causing bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi can be cultured from the peripheral blood of human patients nearly 6 wk post-tick bite. To determine if Lyme disease spirochetes can be transmitted from a spirochetemic donor mouse to a naive recipient during blood transfusion, blood taken from immunocompetent infected mice was transfused into either immunodeficient (SCID) mice, inbred immunocompetent animals (C3H/HeJ), or outbred mice. Nine of 19 (47.7%) immunodeficient mice, 7 of 15 (46.8%) inbred immunocompetent mice, and 6 of 10 (60.0%) outbred mice became infected with B. burgdorferi after transfusion. Our results indicate that it is possible to acquire B. burgdoferi infection via transfused blood in a mouse model of Lyme borreliosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteremia / immunology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / transmission*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / pathogenicity*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Immunocompetence
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Lyme Disease / transmission*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, SCID
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Transfusion Reaction*