Borrelia burgdorferi

Borrelia is a genus of Gram-negative spiral bacteria. Borrelia are mainly distributed in the northern hemisphere and are of importance as the causing pathogens of Lyme borreliosis, named after the town of Lyme (USA).

After an incubation period of up to 10 days on average, a typical circular skin rash appears as the first symptom, which is centred around the site of the tick bite. In rare cases, serious neurological or cardiological symptoms may occur during the course of disease. Human-to-human transmission of Borrelia was not observed so far, thus isolation of infected persons is not necessary.

The main path of transmission of Borrelia is the bite of certain tick species. In about 6% of cases, the pathogens can be detected in infected persons after a tick bite. However, symptomatic infections are observed only in rare cases. The risk of a Borrelia infection after a tick bite depends, among other things, on two factors: First, the duration of the sucking period before the respective tick is removed. Secondly, how widespread distributed Borrelia are among the local tick population [1].

In case of contamination with Borrelia bacteria, a disinfectant with bactericidal efficacy should be used for both hand and surface disinfection. Disinfectants do not inactivated ticks.

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  1. Robert-Koch-Insitute, Answers to frequently asked questions: borreliosis. (accessed on 16.03.2023)

  2. Robert Koch-Institute, RKI memorandum: Lyme borreliosis. (accessed on 16.03.2023)

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