A total of 127 Amblyomma ticks (A. helvolum, A. varanense and A. geoemydae) were collected from reptiles: water monitors (Varanus salvator), Bengal monitors (Varanus bengalensis), Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus), yellow-spotted keelbacks (Xenochrophis flavipunctatus), keeled rat snakes (Ptyas carinata) and elongated tortoises (Indotestudo elongata) from nine provinces in Thailand. The presence of Borrelia spp. of the 16S rRNA, flaB, glpQ, groELand gyrB genes was examined by conventional, semi-nested and nested PCR. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum likelihood method of housekeeping genes showed that most sequences of Borrelia spp. in these Amblyomma ticks belonged to the clade of reptile-associated (REP) borreliae. Interestingly, one Borrelia sp. in an A. geoemydae tick collected from an elongated tortoise clustered in the same clade as a Borrelia sp. detected from an A. geoemydae-infested turtle in Japan (it may belong to the same species given the identical sequences of their 16S rRNA, flaB and glpQ genes) and formed the same group with tick-borne relapsing fever (RF) borreliae of B. miyamotoi and B. theileri. Our findings are the first report on the presence of Borrelia spp. in A. helvolum and A. geoemydae ticks from reptiles in Thailand adding to the geographic distribution of Borrelia spp. in Asia.
Kaenkan W, Nooma W, Chelong IA, Baimai V, Trinachartvanit W, Ahantarig A. Reptile-associated Borrelia spp. in Amblyomma ticks, Thailand. Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2020; 11: 101315. doi:10.1016/j.ttbdis.2019.101315