Comparative Analysis of Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Spirochaetes from Ethiopia and Nigeria

Article


Bankole, A. A., Kumsa, B., Mamo, G., Ogo, N. I., Elelu, N., Morgan, W. and Cutler, S. J. 2023. Comparative Analysis of Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Spirochaetes from Ethiopia and Nigeria. Pathogens. 12 (Art. 81). https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12010081
AuthorsBankole, A. A., Kumsa, B., Mamo, G., Ogo, N. I., Elelu, N., Morgan, W. and Cutler, S. J.
Abstract

Despite increasing reports of tick-borne diseases in Africa, remarkably, reports of tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) in Nigeria are lacking. Ornithodoros savignyi from Nigeria have been reported with the relapsing fever Candidatus Borrelia kalaharica. Conversely, in Ethiopia, the agent of relapsing fever is the louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF) spirochaete Borrelia recurrentis with no TBRF reported to occur. A total of 389 Ornithodoros ticks, Ethiopia (N = 312) and Nigeria (N = 77), were sampled, together with 350 cattle, and 200 goat sera were collected from Nigeria. Samples were screened for Borrelia spp. by RT-PCR. Reactive samples were confirmed, then sequenced using flagellin B, 16S rRNA, and 16S–23S intergenic spacer region. The prevalence of Borrelia spp. in livestock was 3.8% (21/550) and 14% (3/21) after final molecular confirmation. Of 312 ticks from Ethiopia, 3.5% (11/312) were positive for Borrelia, with 36% (4/11) by conventional PCR. Sequencing revealed that the borreliae in soft ticks was C. B. kalaharica, whilst that found in animals was Borrelia theileri. Soft ticks were confirmed by sequencing 7% (22/312) and 12% (9/77) of the Ethiopian and Nigerian ticks, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these were Ornithodoros savignyi. This is the first evidence of C. B. kalaharica in Ethiopia and demonstrates the co-existence of TBRF in a country endemic to LBRF. Important, this might cause a diagnostic challenge given that LBRF is predominantly diagnosed by microscopy, which cannot differentiate these two spirochaetes. Furthermore, we report B. theileri in ruminants in Nigeria, which may also be of veterinary and economic importance.

JournalPathogens
Journal citation12 (Art. 81)
ISSN2076-0817
Year2023
PublisherMDPI
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12010081
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Online03 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted27 Dec 2022
Deposited09 Jan 2023
Copyright holder© 2023 The Authors
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