MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new species of Lyme disease-causing bacteria has been discovered by Mayo Clinic scientists.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – along with Mayo Clinic and health officials from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota – announced the finding Monday.
According to the CDC, scientists at Mayo Clinic first suspected the possibility of a new bacteria species after lab tests from six people suspected of having Lyme disease produced unusual results.
After additional genetic testing at Mayo Clinic and the CDC, the new bacteria was provisionally named Borrelia mayonii, which is closely related to the B. burgdorferi.
“This discovery adds another important piece of information to the complex picture of tickborne diseases in the United States,” Dr. Jeannine Petersen, microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.
Both cause similar symptoms, but B. mayonii is also associated with nausea and vomiting, diffuse rashes (rather than a bull’s eye rash) and higher concentration of bacteria in the blood.
Researchers believe B. mayonii is also also transmitted via infected deer ticks.
So far, Borrelia mayonii has been found only in the upper Midwest.