2023 142 ENV

Evaluation of PCR of Borrelia Pathogens in Ixodes Ticks

By: Adriel Evaristo

Department: Biology 

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrea Swei

Tick-borne diseases are increasing in public health in the United States where the pathogens vectored predominantly caused by Ixodes ticks. To better understand these encounters from ticks and pathogens, the Central of Disease Control and other tick-borne disease labs use an assay to detect multiple pathogens in ticks. These ticks include Ixodes pacificus, angustus, and scapularis where they can carry pathogen species in the genus, Borrelia, which include Borrelia burgdorferi, mayonii, anaplasma phagocytophilum (anaplasmosis) and microti (et al., Hojgaard, 2020). In order to detect presence of Borrelia pathogens and other pathogens, PCR is a strategy to duplicate DNA extractions from Ixodes ticks that contain said pathogens as well for a flagellin gene (fliD) and a non-coding segment chromosome "gB31" which are great detections for presence of Borrelia species (Graham et al., 2017). We are conducting this in the "Swei" lab here in San Francisco State University where our lab is filled with field-collected Ixodes pacificus ticks and we are able to detect the presence of Borrelia species within our ticks.