Background Small mammals are essential in the enzootic cycle of many tick-borne pathogens (TBP). To understand their contribution to the genetic diversity of Borrelia afzelii, the most prevalent TBP in questing Ixodes ricinus, we compared the genetic variants of B. afzelii at three distinct genetic loci. We chose two plasmid loci, dbpA and ospC, and a chromosomal one, IGS. Results While the larvae that fed on shrews (Sorex sp.) tested negative for B. afzelii, those fed on bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) showed high infection prevalences of 0.13 and 0.27, respectively. Despite the high genetic diversity within B. afzelii, there was no difference between wood mice and bank voles in the number and types of B. afzelii haplotypes they transmit. Conclusions The genetic diversity in B. afzelii cannot be explained by separate enzootic cycles in wood mice and bank voles.
- Borrelia burgdorferi
- Ixodes ricinus larvae