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Lyme Borrelioses in Ul’janov and Kirov Regions


Investigation of Lyme Borrelioses Species Circulating in Ul'janovsk and Kirov Regions of Russian Federation

Tech Area / Field

  • MED-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Medicine
  • MED-DID/Diagnostics & Devices/Medicine

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Gremyakova T A

Leading Institute
State Research Center for Applied Microbiology, Russia, Moscow reg., Obolensk


  • University of British Columbia / Centre for Disease Control, Canada, BC, Vancouver

Project summary

Lyme disease is widely spread in the Northern hemisphere tick borreliosis and perhaps a whole group of borrelioses. Up to 50 000 cases of this disease is registered annually in Europe and up to 16000 cases - in USA. The territory of Russian is most extended geographic region of Lyme infection in the world since disease is detected from Baltic to Pacific Ocean. The official registration of cases Ixodid - born borrelioses in Russian Federation was introduced in 1992. According to the experts there are from 10 up to 11 thousand of new cases of disease in Russia every year. However, Lyme disease is still little-known for practical public health services. The serodiagnosis is carried out only at large centers, therefore there are less than one third of infected patients within of view of the clinicians. The main method of serodiagnosis is indirect immunofluorescence assay. A serious problem is high percent of false - positive and false - negative reactions. The coincident of clinical diagnosis with data of import ELISA for serodiagnosis of Lyme disease is less 30 %. The above-mentioned information show that the problem of borrelioses in Russia is needed in comprehensive investigation. This fact is confirmed by growth of the domestic publications at last time.

In accordance with statistical analysis the cases of disease is 3-5 times higher than average on the country in regions where more accurate control above infection and its vectors are fulfilled. Contamination of collected ticks by borrelia can be as high (60% in Moscow region in 1999 and 85% in Ul'janov region in 2001) as small (5% in Moscow region in 2001). These data show that for prediction of epidemic situation in regions it is important to have the information on a level and degree of an infection of vectors.

Our taxonomic researches in the Moscow region have confirmed the communications of other authors about residence Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto in this area. The first in Russia we isolated the pure cultures of borrelia from skin biopsy samples of the patients with the confirmed clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease. These culture were genotyped as B.garinii (var.NT29). The methods of cultivation of large quantities of Borrelia biomass and isolation of their antigens in preparative quantities has been developed by SRCAM specialists.

Antigens from Russian isolates of borrelia are more sensitive and informative than foreign diagnostics-tests as it was shown by immunoblotting with human Lyme borreliosis sera from Institute rheumatology AMS (Moscow). These result are taken at base for creation of immunochemical test-system effective for serodiagnosis of Lyme disease in Russia.

The main purpose of the project is investigation of variety species of borrelia causative agents Lyme disease in European part of Russian Federation as in Kirov and Ul'janov regions.

The following tasks have been to decide for project realization:

1. To collect and systematize the information about number of ticks, index of their infection, amount bites of ticks.
2. To isolate pure cultures from ticks and from skin biopsy samples of the patients with Lyme disease and its taxonomic typing.
3. To analyze sera from the patients with preliminary of Lyme disease using for diagnostics antigens of borrelia strains isolated in Russia.
4. To clone of genes and to synthesize of diagnostically important antigens and design of strains-producers with optimal growth properties.

This project work is applied investigation.

The following things will be obtained during project realization:

1. Database containing information about contamination with borrelia of ticks in Kirov and Ul’janov areas.
2. Genotyped cultures of borrelia from vector and clinical samples.
3. Laboratory model of parasitic system of Lyme disease for preservation biological properties of borrelia isolates.
4. Representative collection of human sera with assumption on Lyme disease from different regions of Russia.
5. Strains-producers of borrelia recombinant antigens with optimal growth conditions for cultivation and methods of their preservation.
6. Chemically synthesized VlsE-like peptides.
7. Immunochemical test-system for serodiagnostics of Lyme disease.

The scientists having significant experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, acarology, epidemiology and clinics of Lyme disease take part in project.

The present research meets ISTC objectives by providing opportunities to specialists engaged previously in the development of biological protection to redirect their skills to solving basic and applied tasks in the fields of medicine and microbiology. The project will promote integration of Russian scientists into the world scientific community. Results obtained by the proposed project will promote the solution of an important problem of pubic health service – diagnostics, prophylaxis and treatment of tick borreliosis.

The role of foreign collaborators in the project-joint forming, discussion and correction of intermediate and final results, some joint investigations and developments, marketing assistance, possible subsequent joint use of developed technologies and of working prototypes of ar4tificialnose system for bacterial analysis. During project the exchange information with foreign collaborators, working in related areas is supposed. Visiting of international meeting and carry out of united symposiums and work seminars are planned for project participants.