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Immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR as diagnostic tools for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in ticks collected from humans

Briciu, Violeta T., Sebah, Daniela, Coroiu, Georgiana, Lupşe, Mihaela, Cârstina, Dumitru, Ţăţulescu, Doina F., Mihalca, Andrei D., Gherman, Călin M., Leucuţa, Daniel, Meyer, Fabian, Hizo-Teufel, Cecilia, Fingerle, Volker, Huber, Ingrid
Experimental & applied acarology 2016 v.69 no.1 pp. 49-60
Borrelia burgdorferi, acarology, developmental stages, genes, hospitals, humans, immunohistochemistry, microscopy, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, screening, ticks, Romania
The objective of this study was to evaluate different methods used for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) in ticks: immunohistochemistry followed by focus floating microscopy (FFM) and real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR) targeting the ospA and hbb genes. Additionally, an optimized ospA real-time PCR assay was developed with an integrated internal amplification control (IAC) for the detection of inhibition in the PCR assay and was validated as an improved screening tool for B. burgdorferi. One hundred and thirty-six ticks collected from humans in a hospital from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, were investigated regarding genus, stage of development and sex, and then tested by all three assays. A poor quality of agreement was found between FFM and each of the two real-time PCR assays, as assessed by concordance analysis (Cohen’s kappa), whereas the agreement between the two real-time PCR assays was moderate. The present study argues for a low sensitivity of FFM and underlines that discordant results of different assays used for detection of B. burgdorferi in ticks are frequent.