Borrelia miyamotoi was discovered in 1995 in Japan, but didn't make an appearance in North America until 2013. The bite of the Ixodes tick species is responsible for transmitting Borrelia miyamotoi, just as it is responsible for Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. While Lyme transmission occurs through the bite of a nymph or adult tick, it has been shown experimentally that the tick larvae can transmit Borrelia miyamotoi.
Signs and Symptoms
B. miyamotoi shares many of the same symptoms as Lyme disease including fever, shaking chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint pains. A main difference between the two are that B. miyamotoi is not associated with a rash.
There are both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibody tests for Borrelia miyamotoi that are offered at specialty labs. However, if a patient does not have access to that test, conventional laboratory assays may be informative. These tests could show low white blood cell count, elevated liver function tests, low platelets, and protein in urine. The specific Borrelia miyamotoi test can be extremely helpful in a case where the patient has no rash, a negative western blot, but presents with flu-like symptoms. It has been reported that occasionally a patient with Borrelia miyamotoi will test falsely positive on the Lyme C6 Peptide ELISA. There is no spinal fluid antibody assay for Borrelia miyamotoi.