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Sixty-one Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato strains from various sources (ticks, human, and wild animals) in Japan and two strains from ticks in Far Eastern Russia were classified on the basis of reactivity with 16 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to outer surface protein A (OspA) and by DNA-DNA hybridization assay. Eleven OspA serotypes (J1 to J11) were recognized among the Japanese and the Far East Russian isolates (serotypes J1 to J9 were identified as B. garinii, serotype J10 was identified as B. afzelii, and serotype J11 corresponded to B. japonica), whereas 7 OspA serotypes for North American and European isolates previously reported (Bettina Wilske et al, J. Clin. Microbiol. 31:340-350,1993) were not observed except for OspA serotype 2 which showed identical reactivity with OspA serotype J10. This finding provides helpful information for understanding the geographical distribution of
Lyme disease borrelia and the development of vaccine and diagnostic tests.
1.B. burgdorferi sensu stricto has not been observed in Japan, 2. Japanese B. afzelii isolates are closely related to those from Europe, 3. B. garinii isolates from Japan are highly heterogeneous and apparently different from European B. garinii isolates.