Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Using the vector tick, , we described the reservoir competence of the white-footed mouse, , for the Lyme disease spirochete, . Nymphal were used to infect mammals, and larval ticks were used to diagnose infection (a form of xenodiagnosis). One tick was nearly as efficient as more than 1 in transmitting the spirochete to mice. The duration of the prepatent period was about 1 week. Prevalence of infection approached 100% in ticks that fed as larvae on mice infected 2 or 3 weeks previously. Thereafter, infectivity gradually decreased, but duration exceeded 200 days. Hamsters, too, became infectious for larval . This report formally demonstrates the life cycle of as it seems to occur in nature. We conclude that the white-footed mouse is a competent reservoir for the Lyme disease spirochete.


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