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To determine whether prior exposure to Nearctic Ixodes vector ticks protects native reservoir mice from tick-borne infection by
Lyme disease spirochetes, we compared their infectivities for white-footed mice and laboratory mice that had been repeatedly infested by noninfected deer ticks. Nymphal ticks readily engorged on tick-exposed laboratory mice, but their feeding success on white-footed mice progressively declined. Tick-borne spirochetes readily infected previously tick-infested mice. Thus, prior infestation by Nearctic ticks does not protect sympatric reservoir mice or Palearctic laboratory mice from infection by sympatric tick-borne spirochetes.