Volume 37, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The susceptibility of the hispid cotton rat, , to the Lyme disease spirochete, , was investigated by inoculating rats with infected tick suspensions or by allowing infected nymphs to feed on them. Culture of blood samples in BSK II medium demonstrated that cotton rats developed spirochetemias that lasted for a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks and were of sufficient concentration to infect simultaneously feeding normal nymphs. The spirochetemias were characterized by alternating spirochete-positive and spirochete-negative phases similar to patterns caused by relapsing fever borreliae. The possibility that is subject to antigenic variations, as reported for the relapsing fever spirochete, , is suggested.


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