Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by spirochetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. Some stages of the borrelial transmission cycle in ticks (transstadial, feeding and co-feeding) can potentially occur also in insects, particularly in mosquitoes. In the present study, adult as well as larval mosquitoes were collected at 42 different geographical locations throughout Germany. This is the first study, in which German mosquitoes were analyzed for the presence of Borrelia spp. Targeting two specific borrelial genes, flaB and ospA encoding for the subunit B of flagellin and the outer surface protein A, the results show that DNA of Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia bavariensis and Borrelia garinii could be detected in ten Culicidae species comprising four distinct genera (Aedes, Culiseta, Culex, and Ochlerotatus). Positive samples also include adult specimens raised in the laboratory from wild-caught larvae indicating that transstadial and/or transovarial transmission might occur within a given mosquito population.
Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi complex; Culicidae; Lyme borreliosis; Mosquitoes; Spirochetes.
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