Volume 47, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that specifically amplifies a fragment of the flagellin gene () of , the causative agent of Lyme disease. This target, amplified with nested primers, was conserved among all 80 strains of tested. Strains examined included cultures from ticks, humans, and rodents from major -endemic regions of the United States and parts of Europe and Asia. Templates from , and were not amplified, nor were eukaryotic DNAs from three tick genera. Several host DNAs potentially present in a tick blood meal also were not amplified. Approximately six per PCR reaction could be detected by ethidium bromide staining of amplified DNA. Colony-raised were used to evaluate the method. One infected nymph in a pool of 40 ticks was routinely detected. The specificity of the assay for detecting -infected ticks in pools was 94% (29 of 31). This protocol should prove useful for assessing infection rates in other putative arthropod vectors.


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