Spirochetes believed to be the cause of Lyme disease were isolated from white-footed mice and white-tailed deer, the preferred natural hosts of Ixodes dammini, the tick vector. Evidence suggests that deer act as a reservoir of the disease and provide an overwintering mechanism for both spirochetes and adult ticks. Some tick larvae may acquire the spirochete by transovarial passage and the nymphal stage may transmit the disease to humans.