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A highly sensitive nested polymerase chain reaction method was designed for the detection of a wide spectrum of strains from Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. This technique allows the detection of as little as 3 fg of total genomic DNA extracted and purified from pure cultures of the organism, this amount corresponds to less than 10 organisms. Two sets of primers homologous to conserved spots in the coding region of the hbb gene, encoding a conserved histone-like protein, were constructed. These were based on a multiple sequence alignment of 39 strains representing all the genomic groups described in B. burgdorferi sensu lato.