Human Borrelia miyamotoi Infection in North America

TitleHuman Borrelia miyamotoi Infection in North America
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
Start Page553
Date Published04/2023
AuthorsBurde J, Bloch EM, Krause PJ
KeywordsBorrelia miyamotoi, Emerging infection, epidemiology, human, relapsing fever, ticks

Borrelia miyamotoi is an emerging pathogen that causes a febrile illness and is transmitted by the same hard-bodied (ixodid) ticks that transmit several other pathogens, including Borrelia species that cause Lyme disease. B. miyamotoi was discovered in 1994 in Ixodes persulcatus ticks in Japan. It was first reported in humans in 2011 in Russia. It has subsequently been reported in North America, Europe, and Asia. B. miyamotoi infection is widespread in Ixodes ticks in the northeastern, northern Midwestern, and far western United States and in Canada. In endemic areas, human B. miyamotoi seroprevalence averages from 1 to 3% of the population, compared with 15 to 20% for B. burgdorferi. The most common clinical manifestations of B. miyamotoi infection are fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, arthralgia, and nausea. Complications include relapsing fever and rarely, meningoencephalitis. Because clinical manifestations are nonspecific, diagnosis requires laboratory confirmation by PCR or blood smear examination. Antibiotics are effective in clearing infection and are the same as those used for Lyme disease, including doxycycline, tetracycline, erythromycin, penicillin, and ceftriaxone. Preventive measures include avoiding areas where B. miyamotoi-infected ticks are found, landscape management, and personal protective strategies such as protective clothing, use of acaricides, and tick checks with rapid removal of embedded ticks.