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Scientific classification
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Spirochaetes
Class: Spirochaetes Cavalier-Smith 2002
Order: Spirochaetales Buchanan 1917
Family: Spirochaetaceae Swellengrebel 1907
Genus: Borrelia Swellengrebel 1907

Borrelia is a genus of bacteria of the spirochete phylum. It causes borreliosis, a zoonotic, vector-borne disease transmitted primarily by ticks and some by lice, depending on the species.[1] There are 36 known species of Borrelia. The genus was named after the French biologist Amédée Borrel.


The currently accepted taxonomy is based on the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN) [2] and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[3] and the phylogeny is based on 16S rRNA-based LTP release 111 by 'The All-Species Living Tree' Project [4]

?B. lonestariBarbour et al. 1996

?B. microti

B. turcica Güner et al. 2004

B. coriaceae Johnson et al. 1987

B. miyamotoi Fukunaga et al. 1995

S. burgdorferi species-group

?Candidatus B. texasensis Lin et al. 2005

?B. andersoniiMarconi et al. 1995

?B. bavariensisMargos et al. 2009

?B. bissettiiPostic et al. 1998

?B. californiensisPostic et al. 2007

?B. kurtenbachiiMargos et al. 2010

?B. spielmanii Richter et al. 2006

B. tanukii Fukunaga et al. 1997

B. afzelii Canica et al. 1994

B. turdi Fukunaga et al. 1997

B. valaisiana Wang et al. 1997

B. americana Rudenko et al. 2010

B. carolinensis Rudenko et al. 2011

B. burgdorferi (Lyme disease spirochete)

B. garinii Baranton et al. 1992

B. lusitaniae Le Fleche et al. 1997

B. japonica Kawabata et al. 1994

B. sinica Masuzawa et al. 2001

♦ Type strain lost or not available
♠ Strains found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) but not listed in the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LSPN)
♥ Strains not lodged at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) or listed in the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN)

Lyme disease[edit]

Of the 36 known species of Borrelia, 12 of these species are known to cause Lyme disease or borreliosis and are transmitted by ticks. The major Borrelia species causing Lyme disease are Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii.

Relapsing fever[edit]

Relapsing fever borreliosis often occurs with severe bacteremia.[5] Borrelia recurrentis is transmitted by the human body louse; no other animal reservoir of B. recurrentis is known. Lice that feed on infected humans acquire the Borrelia organisms that then multiply in the gut of the louse. When an infected louse feeds on an uninfected human, the organism gains access when the victim crushes the louse or scratches the area where the louse is feeding. B. recurrentis infects the person via mucous membranes and then invades the bloodstream.

Other tick-borne relapsing infections are acquired from other species, such as Borrelia hermsii or Borrelia parkeri or Borrelia miyamotoi,[6] which can be spread from rodents, and serve as a reservoir for the infection, via a tick vector. Borrelia hermsii and Borrelia recurrentis cause very similar diseases, although the disease associated with Borrelia hermsii has more relapses and is responsible for more fatalities, while the disease caused by B. recurrentis has longer febrile and afebrile intervals and a longer incubation period.

Laboratory test

Immunoflourascent or confirm by serology by observing the organism in blood of patient.


  1. ^ Samuels DS; Radolf, JD (editors) (2010). Borrelia: Molecular Biology, Host Interaction and Pathogenesis. Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-58-5. 
  2. ^ J.P. Euzéby. "Borrelia". List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN) [1]. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  3. ^ Sayers et al. "Borrelia". National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) taxonomy database [2]. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  4. ^ 'The All-Species Living Tree' Project."16S rRNA-based LTP release 111 (full tree)". Silva Comprehensive Ribosomal RNA Database [3]. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  5. ^ Guo, B.P.; Teneberg, S; Münch, R; Terunuma, D; Hatano, K; Matsuoka, K; Angström, J; Borén, T; Bergström, S (2009). "Relapsing fever Borrelia binds to neolacto glycans and mediates rosetting of human erythrocytes". PNAS 106 (46): 19280–19285. doi:10.1073/pnas.0905470106. PMC 2771742. PMID 19884498. 
  6. ^ McNeil, Donald (19 September 2011). "New Tick-Borne Disease Is Discovered". The New York Times. pp. D6. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 

External links[edit]