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In China, the ability of Ixodes persulcatus, Haemaphysalis concinna and Dermacentor silvarum to transmit Borrelia spirochetes was determined under laboratory conditions. Results showed that all three tick species can acquire spirochetes by feeding on infected mice. However, the capability of the three species to maintain spirochetes was different. Only I. persulcatus is able to maintain spirochetes alive during molting, and subsequent tick stages transmitted the infection to naive mice. In H. concinna and D. silvarum ticks, spirochetes could not survive after the digestion period of blood and after the molting process was finished, spirochetes were no longer detected. Contrary to H. concinna and D. silvarum, I. persulcatus should be considered the principal vector of
Lyme disease in north China.