Scientific Name: Borrelia burgdorferi
This is a helical shaped spirochete bacterium. It has a cell membrane and a cell wall. The flagella allows for motility and is located within the membrane.
Lyme’s disease, the illness caused by B. burgdorferi can affect multiple organ systems within the body. In order to test for this parasite, a blood sample is taken and tested for the antibodies IgM and IgG. The tests used are Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the Western blot test.
–Spreads to humans through the bite of a tick
-Most humans are infected with the bites from nymphs (immature ticks) because they are harder to see
-Intermediate hosts: blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) or western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus)
-ticks become infected during larval feeding on rodents
-rodents are the reservoir host
–B. Burgdoferi varies gene expression between different hosts to account for different environments
-After the initial tick bite, the B. Burgdoferi spreads to secondary organs throughout the body
- Reservoir: mice
- Intermediate: Ticks
- Definitive: Humans
- Tick feeding cycle is seasonal, so climate change affects this
- Climate change could accelerate a ticks’ developmental cycle, increase the egg production, increase the population density, and make a broader range of risk areas since the ideal temperature is a warmer climate with a high percent humidity
- This parasite infects many organs within the human body
This parasite is located in the United States, Asia, and north-western, central, and eastern Europe. It is generally located in forested areas.