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Historically, a number of bacteriophage-like particles have been observed in association with members of the bacterial order Spirochetales, the spirochetes. In the last decade, several spirochete bacteriophages have been isolated and characterized at the molecular level. We have recently characterized a bacteriophage of the
Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi, which we have designated phiBB-1. Here we review the history of the association between the spirochetes and their bacteriophages, with a particular emphasis on phiBB-1 and its prophage, the 32-kb circular plasmid family of B. burgdorferi.