All About Borrelia Burgdorferi

Borrelia is a type of a bacteria belonging to the spirochete family. The three varieties of borrelia are: borrelia burgdorferi, borrelia lonestari and borrelia recurrentis.

The diseases caused by the borrelia are mainly transmitted by lice, ticks and sometimes mosquitoes. Many species of borrelia exists. There are about 36 species of borrelia known till date.

This is a parasitic infection, it mainly affects the deer.

Borrelia is responsible for causing the Lyme disease. Many species of borrelia cause Lyme disease. About 12 species at least are responsible for causing the Lyme disease. The Lyme disease is also known as borreliosis.

The other variety of borrelia, the borrelia recurrentis is transmitted by human louse. This condition is associated with bacteria and recurrent fever.



Borrelia is a spiral shaped organism. This organism is highly specialized in nature. This organism shows dual membranes. Flagella’s are present for motility of the organism.



This organism is an extracellular organism. It adapts to the host organism accordingly. The nutrient requirement of borrelia is very specific hence it makes the survival of this organism in vitro very difficult. It acts mainly by the regulation of the various lipoproteins present in the body.


The Lyme disease or the recurring fever that is caused due to borrelia mainly occur    due to a tick or a flee bite. The life span of a tick is about 2 years. In order to survive it requires a blood meal. The blood meal helps the tick to mature. Spirochetes are acquired by the tick mostly in the larva stage. The blood meal in order to survive is acquired from mice and other types of rodents such as the white footed mice. The spirochetes then survive on the expense of the tick. The tick acts as the host.  The spirochetes generally survive in the digestive track of the host through which it passes the disease to other animals and human beings.

Human beings are generally affected when they get bitten by a tick. This happens as the spirochetes migrate from the digestive track of the host (in this case the tick) to the salivary glands of the tick which is responsible for the transmission of the various diseases caused by it.

When a tick bite takes place, lot of salivation occurs due to which the migration of the spirochetes is easier from the digestive track.  At least 24 hours are required for the migration of the organisms from the digestive track so immediate symptoms are not seen in a patient after the attachment of the tick or lice.


Symptoms of borrelia infection:

Generally for the symptoms to occur, the average time taken is one to four weeks.

The initial symptoms may be similar to those of a bull’s eye lesion. The affected area gradually becomes red with the presence of a central pale area.

Common symptoms like fever, pain in joints, headaches and muscular aches may be seen. The glands of the body may appear swollen in most cases. Some of the other symptoms include that of a blurred vision, pain and sensitivity in the eye, stiff jaw etc.

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