Molecular Detection of Novel Borrelia Species, Candidatus Borrelia javanense, in Amblyomma javanense Ticks from Pangolins

Jiang et al. (2021). Pathogens 10 (6)
Names (1)
General Immunology and Microbiology Immunology and Allergy Infectious Diseases Microbiology (medical) Molecular Biology
A novel Borrelia species, Candidatus Borrelia javanense, was found in ectoparasite ticks, Amblyomma javanense, from Manis javanica pangolins seized in anti-smuggling operations in southern China. Overall, 12 tick samples in 227 (overall prevalence 5.3%) were positive for Candidatus B. javanense, 9 (5.1%) in 176 males, and 3 (5.9%) in 51 females. The phylogenetic analysis, based on the 16S rRNA gene and the flagellin gene sequences of the Borrelia sp., exhibited strong evidence that Candidatus B. javanense did not belong to the Lyme disease Borrelia group and the relapsing fever Borrelia group but another lineage of Borrelia. The discovery of the novel Borrelia species suggests that A. javanense may be the transmit vector, and the M. javanica pangolins should be considered a possible origin reservoir in the natural circulation of these new pathogens. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of a novel Borrelia species agent in A. javanense from pangolins. Whether the novel agent is pathogenic to humans is unknown and needs further research.
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