Ticks are frequently polyinfected and can thus transmit numerous microorganisms. A large number of bacteria, parasites and viruses are transmitted by tick bites and could cause different signs and symptoms in patients. The main goal of this study was to search for these numerous microorganisms in patients presenting with persistent polymorphic syndrome possibly due to a tick bite (SPPT).
The following microorganisms were searched for in saliva, urine, venous and capillary blood by using real time PCR: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia hermsii, Bartonella spp., Bartonella quintana, Bartonella henselae, Ehrlichia spp., Anaplasma spp., Rickettsia spp., Coxiella burnetii, Brucella spp., Francisella tularensis, Mycoplasma spp., Chlamydia spp., Babesia spp., Theileria spp.
104 patients were included. 48% of the patients were poly-infected, and 25% harboured at least three different microorganisms. Borrelia spp. were not the most frequent bacteria observed, observed far behind Mycoplasma spp., Rickettsia spp. and Ehrlichia spp. which were the most frequent microorganisms observed. Piroplasms were found in a significant number of patients. The most sensitive matrix was saliva, followed by urine, capillary blood and venous blood.
Our prospective study has shown that patients with SPPT, a syndrome close to fibromyalgia, could harbour several tick borne microorganisms.