Ornithodoros savignyi, the Tick Vector of “Candidatus Borrelia kalaharica” in Nigeria

Sally J. Cutler, Jibrin M. Idris, Akeem O. Ahmed, Nusirat Elelu
  • Journal of Clinical Microbiology, June 2018, ASM Journals
  • DOI: 10.1128/jcm.00532-18

Mystery vector of a new relapsing fever Borrelia species revealed.

What is it about?

We describe the arthropod vector for a newly described bacterial species that can cause relapsing fever infections. This species is different to the classical species that cause relapsing fever and has been reported in humans with two recent cases among returning travellers. The vector had not been identified, but we now describe that this was Ornithodoros savignyi ticks. These are traditionally considered as "animal ticks" but will avidly feed on people and livestock alike.

Why is it important?

The importance of this work is that knowing the vector, we can assess its distribution and thus identify the risk area for infection. Furthermore, it is likely that this might be a significant cause of febrile disease amongst the local population. Knowing that this infection is endemic to this region will help improve the diagnosis of febrile infections of unknown origin. Borrelia infections generally give a good response to antimicrobial therapy.


Professor Sally Jane Cutler (Author)
University of East London

From the knowledge gained from this study, it is important to investigate the burden of infection both in humans and livestock.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Sally Jane Cutler