Comparison of Vector Efficiency of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) From the Northeast and Upper Midwest of the United States for the Lyme Disease Spirochete Borrelia mayonii
Borrelia mayonii, a recently recognized species within the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, has been detected in host-seeking Ixodes scapularis Say ticks and found to be associated with Lyme disease in the Upper Midwest. This spirochete has, to date, not been documented from the Northeast, but we previously demonstrated that I. scapularis ticks originating from Connecticut are capable of serving as a vector of B. mayonii. In this follow-up study, we compared the vector efficiency for B. mayonii (strain MN14-1420) of I. scapularis ticks originating from Minnesota in the Upper Midwest and Connecticut in the Northeast. CD-1 outbred white mice previously infected with B. mayonii via tick bite were exposed to simultaneous feeding by Minnesota and Connecticut larvae contained within separate feeding capsules. We found no difference in the ability of Minnesota and Connecticut larvae to acquire B. mayonii from infected mice and pass spirochetes to the nymphal stage (overall nymphal infection rates of 11.6 and 13.3%, respectively). Moreover, the efficiency of transmission of B. mayonii by single infected nymphs was similar for the Minnesota and Connecticut ticks (33 and 44%, respectively). We conclude that the examined I. scapularis ticks from the Upper Midwest and Northeast did not differ in their efficiency as vectors for B. mayonii.