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Five Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato isolates from Missouri are described. This represents the first report and characterization of such isolates from that state. The isolates were obtained from either Ixodes dentatus or Amblyomma americanum ticks that had been feeding on cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) from a farm in Bollinger County, Mo., where a human case of
Lyme disease had been reported. All isolates were screened immunologically by indirect immunofluorescence by using monoclonal antibodies to B. burgdorferi-specific outer surface protein A (OspA) (antibodies H3TS and H5332), B. burgdorferi-specific OspB (antibody H6831), Borrelia (genus)-specific antiflagellin (antibody H9724), and Borrelia hermsii-specific antibody (antibody H9826). Analysis of the isolates also involved a comparison of their protein profiles by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Finally, the isolates were analyzed by PCR with six pairs of primers known to amplify selected DNA target sequences specifically found in the reference strain B. burgdorferi B-31. Although some genetic variability was detected among the five isolates as well as between them and the B-31 strain, enough similarities were found to classify them as B. burgdorferi sensu lato.