Serosurvey of Borrelia in dogs, horses, and humans exposed to ticks in a rural settlement of southern Brazil

Rev Bras Parasitol Vet. 2016 Oct-Dec;25(4):418-422. doi: 10.1590/S1984-29612016085. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


The aims of the present study were to serosurvey dogs, horses, and humans highly exposed to tick bites for anti-Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. antibodies, identify tick species present, and determine risk factors associated with seropositivity in a rural settlement of Paraná State, southern Brazil. Eighty-seven residents were sampled, along with their 83 dogs and 18 horses, and individual questionnaires were administered. Immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) was performed on serum samples and positive samples were subjected to western blot (WB) analysis. Anti-B. burgdorferi antibodies were found in 4/87 (4.6%) humans, 26/83 (31.3%) dogs, and 7/18 (38.9%) horses by IFAT, with 4/4 humans also positive by WB. Ticks identified were mostly from dogs and included 45/67 Rhipicephalus sanguineus, 21/67 Amblyomma ovale, and 1/67 A. cajennense sensu lato. All (34/34) horse ticks were identified as A. cajennense s.l.. No significant association was found when age, gender, or presence of ticks was correlated to seropositivity to Borrelia sp. In conclusion, although anti-Borrelia antibodies have been found in dogs, horses and their owners from the rural settlement, the lack of isolation, molecular characterization, absence of competent vectors and the low specificity of the commercial WB kit used herein may have impaired risk factor analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Brazil
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Ixodidae / microbiology
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus / microbiology
  • Rural Health
  • Ticks / microbiology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial