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We show that serum obtained from normal hamsters infected with Borrelia burgdorferi can confer complete protection on irradiated recipients challenged with the
Lyme spirochete. Borreliacidal activity was detected 7 days after infection, peaked at weeks 3 to 5, and thereafter decreased. Relatively high borreliacidal activity was detected in immune serum at weeks 3 and 5 of infection. The borreliacidal activity did not correlate with antibody used for the serodiagnosis of
Lyme disease, which remained elevated throughout experimental infection. Our results also demonstrated that blocking antibody and antigenic variation in B. burgdorferi did not account for the decreasing titer of protective antibody. These findings indicate that protection against reinfection gradually wanes.