Relapsing Fever Borreliae: A Global Review

Clin Lab Med. 2015 Dec;35(4):847-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2015.07.001. Epub 2015 Aug 22.


Relapsing fever borreliae were notorious and feared infectious agents that earned their place in history through their devastating impact as causes of both epidemic and endemic infection. They are now considered more as an oddity, and their burden of infection is largely overshadowed by other infections such as malaria, which presents in a similar clinical way. Despite this, they remain the most common bacterial infection in some developing countries. Transmitted by soft ticks or lice, these fascinating spirochetes have evolved a myriad of mechanisms to survive within their diverse environments.

Keywords: Argasid (soft) ticks; Borrelia; Clothing lice; Endemic relapsing fever; Epidemic relapsing fever; Louse-borne relapsing fever; Pediculus humanus; Tick-borne relapsing fever.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Borrelia / classification
  • Borrelia / growth & development
  • Borrelia / physiology*
  • Ecology
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Relapsing Fever / diagnosis
  • Relapsing Fever / drug therapy
  • Relapsing Fever / microbiology*
  • Relapsing Fever / transmission