Strain variation of Lyme disease spirochetes isolated from Ixodes ricinus ticks and rodents collected in two endemic areas in Switzerland

J Med Entomol. 1995 Jul;32(4):433-8. doi: 10.1093/jmedent/32.4.433.


The relationship among Lyme borreliosis, Borrelia genospecies, rodent reservoirs, and Ixodes ricinus L. ticks was studied in two endemic areas in Switzerland. Ear punch biopsies and sampling of internal organs were used to isolate Borrelia burgdorferi (Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt and Brenner) from small mammals, Apodemus sylvaticus L., A. flavicollis Melchoir, Clethrionomys glareolus Schreber. Spirochetes were isolated from ear tissue and spleen of the rodents. Isolates were homogeneous and belonged to typing group II identified as B. afzelii (Canica, Nato, du Merle, Mazie, Baranton and Postic). Our data show that a specific association exists between B. afzelii and rodent reservoirs in European foci. Borreliae were also isolated from field-collected I. ricinus ticks from the same study areas. Proteinic and antigenic analysis indicated that more than one genospecies were present in the tick population. This suggests that other vertebrate hosts may serve as reservoirs of other Borrelia genospecies implicated with Lyme disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Rodentia / microbiology*
  • Switzerland
  • Ticks / microbiology*