The genospecies Borrelia afzelii was isolated from a patient of
Lyme disease in Hokkaido, Japan, for the first time, by culturing the minced erythema lesion in BSK II medium. Two analytical methods, rRNA gene restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the specific primer set to amplify the 16S rRNA gene, revealed that this clinical isolate belongs to the group of B. afzelii. In our culture collection of spirochetes, part of the isolates from Ixodes persulcatus ticks, and from Apodemus speciosus rodents, were also classified as B. afzelii. These results strongly suggest that the agent pathogenic to humans is maintained in "rodent-tick" transmission cycle.