Volume 89, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The study of relapsing fever borreliae in Africa has long suffered from the use of non-specific laboratory tools for the direct detection of these spirochetes in clinical and vector specimens. Accordingly, , , , and have traditionally been distinguished on the basis of geography and vector and the unproven hypothesis that each species was exclusive to one vector. The recent sequencing of three relapsing fever genomes in our laboratory prompted the development of more specific tools and a reappraisal of the epidemiology in Africa. Five additional potential species still need to be cultured from clinical and vector sources in East Africa to further assess their uniqueness. Here, we review the molecular evidence of relapsing fever borreliae in hosts and ectoparasites in Africa and explore the diversity, geographical distribution, and vector association of these pathogens for Africans and travelers to Africa.


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  • Received : 16 Nov 2012
  • Accepted : 15 Dec 2012
  • Published online : 07 Aug 2013

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