Surveillance and Molecular Identification of Borrelia Species in Ticks Collected at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Republic of Korea, 2018-2019

J Med Entomol. 2022 Jan 12;59(1):363-371. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjab170.


Tick-borne pathogens are contributing factors for the increased incidence of vector-borne diseases throughout the world, including Lyme borreliosis, one of the most prevalent spirochetes belonging to the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group. The present study focused on the detection of Borrelia species from hard ticks collected at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Republic of Korea (ROK), using molecular and genotypic analyses. Tick-borne disease surveillance was conducted from January to December, 2018-2019. A total of 24,281 ticks (2 genera and 5 species) were collected from road-killed Korean Water deer (KWD) and by tick drag. Haemaphysalis longicornis (92.0%) was the most commonly collected species, followed by Haemaphysalis flava (4.9%), Ixodes nipponensis (3.1%), Haemaphysalis phasiana (0.07%), and Haemaphysalis japonica (<0.01%). The ospA gene sequences of Borrelia afzelii were detected in 12/529 pools of I. nipponensis. Three and one pools were positive for B. afzelii and Borrelia miyamotoi, respectively, using the 16s rRNA gene. None of the pools of Haemaphysalis ticks collected from KWD or by tick drag were positive for Borrelia species. I. nipponensis was collected throughout the year from KWD and from February to November by tick drag, suggesting that they were active throughout the year, and expanding the risk period for acquiring Lyme borreliosis and Borrelia relapsing fever in the ROK. This study assessed disease risk factors associated with the prevalence of Lyme disease in ticks collected from KWD and by tick drag using molecular analysis. These results provide an understanding and awareness into the prevalence and molecular characteristics of Borrelia species in the ROK.

Keywords: Borrelia afzelii; Borrelia miyamotoi; Ixodes nipponensis; Korean water deer; tick.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification
  • Borrelia* / genetics
  • Borrelia* / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • Deer / parasitology*
  • Ixodes / parasitology
  • Ixodidae / parasitology
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Tick Infestations / veterinary
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / epidemiology


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Supplementary concepts

  • Borrelia miyamotoi