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The role of ticks in the emergence of Borrelia burgdorferi as a zoonotic pathogen and its vector control: A global systemic review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dave George



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Ticks are widely distributed across the globe, serving as hosts for numerous pathogens that make them major contributors to zoonotic parasitosis. Borrelia burgdorferi is a bacterial species that causes an emerging zoonotic tick-borne disease known as Lyme borreliosis. The role of ticks in the transmission of this pathogen was explored in this study. According to this systematic review, undertaken according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, 19 tick species are known to carry Borrelia burgdorferi, with more than half of the recorded cases in the last two decades related to Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes scapularis ticks. Forty-six studies from four continents, Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa, reported this pathogen in ticks collected from vegetation, animals, and humans. This study highlights an increasing distribution of tick-associated Borrelia burgdorferi, likely driven by accelerated tick population increases in response to climate change coupled with tick dispersal via migratory birds. This updated catalogue helps in compiling all tick species responsible for the transmission of B. burgdorferi across the globe. Gaps in research exist on Borrelia burgdorferi in continents such as Asia and Africa, and in considering environmentally friendly vector control strategies in Europe and North America.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hussain S, Hussain A, Aziz U, Song B, Zeb J, George D, Li J, Sparagano O

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Microorganisms

Year: 2021

Volume: 9

Issue: 12

Online publication date: 23/11/2021

Acceptance date: 18/11/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2076-2607

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms9122412