Med. Weter. 69 (6), 341-347, 2013

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Włodarek J., Żuraw A., Walczak R., Dziuban J., Jaśkowski J.M.
Lyme Borreliosis (LB): the most frequent tick-borne disease in humans and animals
Lyme borreliosis is the most frequent tick-borne disease in humans, as well as in animals. The main reservoir of its causative agent, Borelia bugdorferi, are small rodents, but other domestic and wild mammals, as well as birds, can also be infected. The most common vector of these bacteria in Poland is the tick, Ixodes ricinus. Owing to significant difficulties of isolation and in vitro cultivation, it is almost impossible to detect this microorganism in a routine bacteriological examination. Because of great variety within the species, B. bugdorferi has been divided into different genospecies, some of which exist in Poland. The most common way for the bacteria to invade the host organism is through a tick bite, but they can also enter from tick feces through damaged skin or transplacentarily or through inhalation. Initially, the bacteria multiply at the site of a tick bite and then migrate to the bloodstream and different organs. The first phase of the disease is erythema migrans, and then such forms as neuroborreliosis, joint involvement, cerebral dural sinus thrombosis or the Alice in Wonderland syndrome can occur. In dogs most of B. bugdorferi infections are symptomless. They usually develop the disease after a reinfection, in which the musculoskeletal system, the neurological system and often the heart are involved. In horses, clinical signs appear very rarely. In the first phase of the disease a long-term antibiotic therapy is of great importance to prevent the occurrence of the chronic form. In dogs, vaccination can be used. Recently, thanks to new diagnostic methods, such as immunoenzymatic assays, flow cytometry and western blotting, the detection of the disease, also in animals, has increased significantly in the last decade. Molecular techniques involving microfluidic systems, the so-called “lab-on-chip” devices, are an early and unambiguous identification method of a B. Burgdorferi infection. The aim of this method is to obtain and specifically multiply the desired DNA fragment with PCR. All this happens within an integrated microlaboratory (lab-on-chip) with the use of real-time fluorometric detection.
Key words: Borrelia bugdorferi, Ixodes ricinus, Lyme borreliosis