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J Clin Microbiol. 1988 Dec;26(12):2632-6.

Borrelia burgdorferi infection surrounding La Crosse, Wis.

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  • 1Microbiology Research Laboratory, Gundersen Medical Foundation, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601.


This investigation defined the extent of Borrelia burgdorferi infection surrounding La Crosse, Wis. White-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus or P. maniculatis, were captured from sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa and cultured for B. burgdorferi to define the local boundaries of the midwestern Lyme disease area. All foci of B. burgdorferi infection (N1, N2, N3, and N4) were located north of interstate highway 90 except focus S2, which was south of the highway near Fort McCoy, Wis. The interstate highway may have been a barrier to deer movement which slowed the southward dispersal of Ixodes dammini. B. burgdorferi was isolated from 12 (63%) of the mice captured from site N4, which was adjacent to the western border of Fort McCoy. Unexpectedly, no B. burgdorferi-infected mice were isolated at site N0, located north of interstate highway 90 and enclosed by areas in which B. burgdorferi infection is endemic. This site is surrounded by natural barriers which may have slowed the spread of I. dammini by deer. The Wisconsin area in which B. burgdorferi is endemic should now include the surrounding area north of interstate highway 90 west from Fort McCoy to the Mississippi River. Additional studies are needed to define the rapidity, limits, and means of I. dammini dispersal into southern Wisconsin.

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