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Detection of Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever) and Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) in Field-Collected Ticks from the Cayo District of Belize, Central America

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Background Little documented tick-borne disease data exists for Central America. Several tick-borne diseases are suspected of occurring in Central America, based on patient symptoms, and a need to test local tick populations for various tick borne diseases and to describe their possible presence and geographical distribution mayassist public health authorities in prevention and control efforts. For this project, real-time quantitative PCR qPCR methods are used to screen for Coxiella burnetii Q fever andthe bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi Lyme disease in the tick population of the Cayo District of central Belize. Methods A total of 272 field-collected ticks 97 tick pools were previously collected in Belize from tick drags and host collection methods for this study. The wet season November yielded 180 specimens and the dry season February yielded 92 specimens. Ticks were cut in half, DNA extracted and screened for the above-mentioned pathogens using qPCR methods. qPCRs were conducted for each pathogen and repeated reactions for positive confirmation performed on an ABI 7500 FAST real time PCR instrument and program to investigate their prevalence in tick pools from Belize. Fishersexact test was used to determine the association between climatic conditions and presence of B. burgdorferi and C. burnetii. Results All 97 tick pools collected were tested for the presence of C. burnetii Q fever and B. burgdorferi Lyme disease using SYBR Green-based qPCR assays as described previously. Of these, 0 0 ticks tested positive for the presence of C. burnetii DNA, of which 1 possible positive specimen could be identified. Three 3 tick pools tested positive for the presence of B. burgdorferi DNA, one positive pool containing five male Amblyomma maculatum ticks and two tick pools containing 20 each of Dermacentor nitens larvae. C. burnetii was not positively identified in this study, but prevalence for B. burgdorferi was analyzed.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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