Comparison of PCR-Based Diagnosis with Centrifuged-Based Enrichment Method for Detection of Borrelia persica in Animal Blood Samples
AbstractBackground:The mainstay of diagnosis of relapsing fever (RF)is demonstration of the spirochetes in Giemsa-stained thick blood smears, but during non fever periods the bacteria are very scanty and rarely detected in blood smears by microscopy. This study is aimed to evaluate the sensitivity of different methods developed for detection of low-grade spirochetemia. Methods: Animal blood samples with low degrees of spirochetemia were tested with two PCRs and a nested PCR targeting flaB, GlpQ, and rrs genes. Also, a centrifuged-based enrichment method and Giemsa staining were performed on blood samples with various degrees of spirochetemia.Results: The flaB-PCR and nested rrs-PCR turned positive with various degrees of spirochetemia including the blood samples that turned negative with dark-field microscopy. The GlpQ-PCR was positive as far as at least one spirochete was seen in 5-10 microscopic fields. The sensitivity of GlpQ-PCR increased when DNA from Buffy Coat Layer (BCL) was used as template. The centrifuged-based enrichment method turned positive with as low concentration as 50 bacteria/ml blood, while Giemsa thick staining detected bacteria with concentrations ≥ 25000 bacteria/ml.Conclusion:Centrifuged-based enrichment method appeared as much as 500-fold more sensitive than thick smears, which makes it even superior to some PCR assays. Due to simplicity and minimal laboratory requirements, this method can be considered a valuable tool for diagnosis of RF in rural health centers.
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