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Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s. l.), the etiological agent of
Lyme diesease, is transmitted by the bite of Ixodes ricinus. During May and September 1999, field surveys on
Lyme disease spirochetes were conducted in three locations of a region of north-west Poland, known as recreational districts visited by many people. The ticks Ixodes ricinus were collected in natural habitats by dragging a flanel cloth over the vegetation. Sex and developmental stage of each tick were determined. Based on a polymerase chain reaction test with primers that recognize a chromosomal gene of all strains, out of the total 1414 specimens collected, 126 (8.9%) were found to be infected. The species B. burgdorferi s. l. comprises at least three pathogenic genomospecies, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (s. s.), Borrelia garinii, and Borerelia afzelii, witch could be distinguished in nested-PCR tests with species-specific primers. B. burgdorferi s. s. was most prevalent (96% of infected ticks), followed by B. garinii (1.3%), and B. afzelii. was not found. Of the infected ticks, over the 99% were infected with a single species, one specimens was infected with two species. For 4 ticks, the infecting species could not be identied. The difference in rates of prevalence was observed among the tree locations (17%–5.3%–3.2%).