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Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2008 Jun;22(2):217-34, v. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2007.12.013.

Biology of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi.

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Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.


The spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi is a tick-borne obligate parasite whose normal reservoir is a variety of small mammals. Although infection of these natural hosts does not lead to disease, infection of humans can result in Lyme disease as a consequence of the human immunopathologic response to B burgdorferi. Consistent with the pathogenesis of Lyme disease, bacterial products that allow B burgdorferi to replicate and survive seem to be primarily what is required for the bacterium to cause disease in a susceptible host. This article describes the basic biology of B burgdorferi and reviews some of the bacterial components required for infection of and survival in the mammalian and tick hosts.

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