We examined the degree of host specialization of different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi, the tickborne pathogen that causes
Lyme borreliosis in the northeastern United States. We first assessed the genetic population structures of B. burgdorferi in ticks obtained from different mammalian host species and in questing ticks sampled in a woodland ecosystem in Connecticut. By comparing the patterns found in our study with data from another cross-sectional study, we demonstrate that B. burgdorferi is a generalist microparasite and conclude that efficient cross-species transmission of B. burgdorferi is a key feature that has allowed the rapid spread of
Lyme borreliosis across the northeastern United States.