Vector competence of Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) for three genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi

J Med Entomol. 1998 Jul;35(4):465-70. doi: 10.1093/jmedent/35.4.465.


The vector competence of 2 tick species, Ixodes ricinus (L.) and Ixodes scapularis Say, was determined and compared for 3 genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi. The 3 genospecies of B. burgdorferi used in the following experiments were Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (B-31 and B-31.D1 clone), Borrelia afzelii (strain Pgau. C3), and Borrelia garinii (strain VS286 and VSBP). Spirochetes from all 5 strains were inoculated intradermally into outbred mice; larval ticks of both species were subsequently fed on those mice and replete larvae were assayed for infection by culture in BSK-H media every 7 d for 4 wk. Infection frequencies in I. scapularis exposed to the 5 strains were as follows: B-31 (90%), B-31.D1 (83%), Pgau.C3 (87%), VS286 (10%), and VSBP (5%). The comparable infection frequencies for I. ricinus were B-31 (3%), B-31.D1 (3%), Pgau.C3 (90%), VS286 (5%), and VSBP (3%). Resultant nymphal I. scapularis successfully transmitted B-31, B-31,D1, Pgau.C3, and VS286 to outbred mice. I. ricinus nymphs transmitted Pgau.C3 and VS286. Both species failed to transmit strain VSBP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / microbiology*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group*
  • Female
  • Ixodes / microbiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Rabbits