Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Iran

2 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Iran


Borrelia species are spirochetes transmitted by ticks that are important in human and animals. In most countries, there is still no molecular epidemiology of borreliosis in ruminants. This study was aimed to evaluate the existence of Borrelia spp. DNA in the blood samples of small ruminants using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method in West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. To detect Borrelia spp. DNA, about 1,018 ruminants (456 goats and 562 sheep) blood samples were examined from different bioclimatic regions in West Azerbaijan province, Iran. The DNA extracting and PCR were conducted. In sheep, the following prevalence rates were respectively obtained for the 16S rRNA, 5S - 23S rRNA and ospA genes: 3.55% (20/562), 2.13% (12/562) and 0.88% (5/562). And so, the prevalence rates of the genes in goats were 0.87% (4/456) for 5S - 23S rRNA gene, 1.75% (8/456) for 16S rRNA gene and 0.65% (3/456) for ospA gene. The prevalence of Borrelia spp. was significantly different in small ruminants based on the farms and localities. The sheep and goats in humid areas (north of West Azerbaijan) were infected statistically more than those in sub-humid areas (south of West Azerbaijan). It is demonstrated that host species like sheep and goats may have a key role in natural Lyme disease cycles and other borreliosis diseases in Iran.


Main Subjects

  1. Chomel BB, Belotto A, Meslin FX. Wildlife, exotic pets, and emerging zoonoses. Emerg Infect Dis 2007; 13(1): 6-11.
  2. Moon KL, Chown SL, Loh SM, et al. Australian penguin ticks screened for novel Borrelia species. Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2018; 9(2): 410-414.
  3. Kilpatrick AM, Randolph SE. Drivers, dynamics, and control of emerging vector borne zoonotic diseases. Lancet 2012; 380(9857): 1946-1955.
  4. Margos G, Vollmer SA, Ogden NH, et al. Population genetics, taxonomy, phylogeny and evolution of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Infect Genet Evol 2011; 11(7): 1545-1563.
  5. Yon L, Duff JP, Ågren EO, et al. Recent changes in infectious diseases in European wildlife. J Wildl Dis 2019; 55(1): 3-43.
  6. Jaenson TG, Tälleklint L. Lyme borreliosis spirochetes in Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) and the varying hare on isolated islands in the Baltic, Sea. J Med Entomol 1996; 33(3): 339-343.
  7. Jones BA, Grace D, Kock R, et al. Zoonosis emergence linked to agricultural intensification and environmental change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013; 110(21): 8399-8404.
  8. Ben Said M, Belkahia H, Alberti A, et al. First molecular evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in goats, sheep, cattle and camels in Tunisia. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2016; 23(3): 442-427.
  9. Gern L, Rais O. Efficient transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi between cofeeding Ixodes ricinus ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). J Med Entomol 1996; 33(1): 189-192.
  10. Orkun Ö. Comprehensive screening of tick-borne microorganisms indicates that a great variety of pathogens are circulating between hard ticks (Ixodoidea: Ixodidae) and domestic ruminants in natural foci of Anatolia. Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2022; 13(6): 102027. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2022.102027.
  11. Pérez D, Kneubühler Y, Rais O, et al. Seasonality of Ixodes ricinus ticks on vegetation and on rodents and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies diversity in two Lyme borreliosis–endemic areas in Switzerland. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2012; 12(8): 633-644.
  12. Karageorgou I, Koutantou M, Papadogiannaki I, et al. Serological evidence of possible Borrelia afzelii lyme disease in Greece. New Microbes New Infect 2022; 46: 100978. doi: 10.1016/j.nmni.2022.100978.
  13. Wang W, Wang X, Liu J, et al. The integration of gold nanoparticles with polymerase chain reaction for constructing colorimetric sensing platforms for detection of health-related DNA and proteins. Biosensors (Basel) 2022; 12(6): 421. doi: 10.3390/ bios12060421.
  14. Sazmand A, Harl J, Eigner B, et al. Vector-borne bacteria in blood of camels in Iran: new data and literature review. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 2019; 65: 48-53.
  15. Khademi P, Ownagh A, Ataei B, et al. Prevalence of C. burnetii DNA in sheep and goats milk in the northwest of Iran. Int J Food Microbiol 2020; 331: 108716. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2020.108716.
  16. Furuno K, Lee K, Itoh Y, et al. Epidemiological study of relapsing fever borreliae detected in Haemaphysalis ticks and wild animals in the western part of Japan. PLoS One 2017; 12(3): e0174727. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174727.
  17. Kybicová K, Kurzová Z, Hulínská D. Molecular and serological evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in wild rodents in the Czech Republic. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2008; 8(5): 645-652.
  18. Sehgal VN, Khurana A. Lyme disease/borreliosis as a systemic disease. Clin Dermatol 2015; 33(5): 542-550.
  19. Guo E, Agusto FB. Baptism of fire: modeling the effects of prescribed fire on Lyme disease. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol 2022; 2022: 5300887. doi: 10.1155/ 2022/5300887.
  20. Voyiatzaki C, Papailia SI, Venetikou MS, et al. Climate changes exacerbate the spread of Ixodes ricinus and the occurrence of lyme borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis in europe-how climate models are used as a risk assessment approach for tick-borne diseases. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2022; 19(11): 6516. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19116516.
  21. Aouadi A, Leulmi H, Boucheikhchoukh M, et al. Molecular evidence of tick-borne hemoprotozoan-parasites (Theileria ovis and Babesia ovis) and bacteria in ticks and blood from small ruminants in Northern Algeria. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 2017; 50: 34-39.
  22. Esmaeilnejad B, Gharekhani J, Samiei A, et al Molecular detection of Coxiella burnetii in ticks isolated from goats of Meshkin-Shahr county, Ardabil province, Iran [Persian]. Nova Biologica Reperta 2020; 7(3): 315-321.
  23. Pesquera C, Portillo A, Palomar AM, et al. Investigation of tick-borne bacteria (Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp. and Borrelia spp.) in ticks collected from Andean tapirs, cattle and vegetation from a protected area in Ecuador. Parasit Vectors 2015; 8:46. doi: 10.1186/s13071-015-0662-3.
  24. Maggi RG, Krämer F. A review on the occurrence of companion vector-borne diseases in pet animals in Latin America. Parasit Vectors 2019; 12(1): 145. doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3407-x.
  25. Jongejan F, Uilenberg G. The global importance of ticks. Parasitology 2004; 129(Suppl): S3-S14.