Lyme disease in California: a novel enzootic transmission cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi

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Science  05 Jun 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5062, pp. 1439-1442
DOI: 10.1126/science.1604318


Knowledge of zoonotic transmission cycles is essential for the development of effective strategies for disease prevention. The enzootiology of Lyme disease in California differs fundamentally from that reported from the eastern United States. Woodrats, not mice, serve as reservoir hosts, and Ixodes neotomae, a nonhuman-biting tick, maintains the agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, in enzootic cycles. The western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus, is the primary vector to humans, but it appears to be an inefficient maintenance vector. Isolates of B. burgdorferi from California exhibit considerable antigenic heterogeneity, and some isolates differ strikingly from isolates recovered from this and other geographic regions.

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