Increasing trends in Lyme borreliosis reported from Upshur County WV


  • Kyra Duncan West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Melanie Sal West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Kim Bjorgo-Thorne West Virginia Wesleyan College


Borrelia, Ixodes, monitoring, black-legged tick,


Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is the most commonly contracted tick-borne disease in America. It is transmitted by hard-bodied ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) of the genus Ixodes, specifically I. scapularis in the eastern United States and I. pacificus in the western United States. Borreliosis is caused by the spirochaete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. In 2018, 398 confirmed or probable cases of Lyme borreliosis were reported in 40 West Virginia counties, compared to a total of 772  total confirmed/probable cases of Lyme borreliosis from 2000-2010 (annual range 17-200 cases). In order to test population dynamics of different tick species and Borrelia infection prevalence of I. scapularis, 747 individual tick samples of three different species (I. scapularis, Dermacentor variabilis, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus) were collected in and around Upshur County, West Virginia via flagging and dragging methods, and from veterinarians and groomers in Upshur County. After identification, the DNA was extracted from the samples. PCR and gel electrophoresis were used to test for B. burgdorferi presence in the ticks. 1.7% of the 147 ticks tested were positive for B. burgdorferi infection. 3.4% of the ticks tested displayed an unidentified positive band. Lyme borreliosis is now found in most WV counties and is considered endemic in the state. Upshur and surrounding counties, once comparatively free of Lyme borreliosis cases, are now reporting multiple cases per year. Future research will include isolating and identifying this band as well as testing for Rickettsial diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Author Biographies

Kyra Duncan, West Virginia Wesleyan College

Student, Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Melanie Sal, West Virginia Wesleyan College

Associate professor, Department Chair

Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Kim Bjorgo-Thorne, West Virginia Wesleyan College

Associate professor


WV DHHR. West Virginia Tickborne Disease

Surveillance Summary, 2000–2010. Accessed 20 February 2020.

WV DHHR. Vectorborne disease report, 2018. Accessed 20 February 2020.




How to Cite

Duncan, K., Sal, M., & Bjorgo-Thorne, K. (2020). Increasing trends in Lyme borreliosis reported from Upshur County WV. Proceedings of the West Virginia Academy of Science, 92(1). Retrieved from



Meeting Abstracts-Oral