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This study evaluated the effects of vaccination with OspA on the use of serologic tests as aids in the diagnosis of
Lyme borreliosis. Sera from control and OspA-immunized mice and from OspA-immunized human volunteers were tested for serologic reactivity to Borrelia burgdorferi. Testing was performed with samples obtained prior to administration of vaccine and at 30 days following administration of an initial and a second dose of OspA vaccine. The assays used to assess serologic reactivity included an in-house-developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), an in-house-developed Western blot assay, two commercial Western blot tests, and a commercially available dot blot assay. Data obtained from this study demonstrate that immunization with the OspA vaccine will cause ELISA to yield positive results (as reported previously) for the majority of vaccine recipients. Results obtained from Western blot analysis indicate that vaccination with recombinant OspA induces production of antibodies which bind to several different borrelial proteins. The degree of reactivity detected by Western blotting varied greatly between the three assays used. The in-house assay showed the least reactivity, while one commercial Western blot test actually yielded positive test results for infection with B. burgdorferi. The usefulness of all three Western blot assays for the diagnosis of potential infection in a vaccine recipient is severely limited by the extensive reactivity caused by vaccination alone. Antibodies produced in response to OspA vaccination did not significantly affect the performance of the dot blot test; thus, it could provide a reliable means to test for infection with B. burgdorferi in OspA vaccine recipients.