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Increased severity of
disease and persistence of symptoms have been recently reported in some patients with simultaneous infection of Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti in the northeastern and northern midwest United States. This study used a murine model to examine whether defined
disease conditions such as arthritis and carditis differed in severity in mice infected solely with B. burgdorferi and in mice coinfected with B. microti and B. burgdorferi. C3H.HeJ and BALB/c mice cohorts were coinfected or singly infected and then monitored experimentally for 15 and 30 days after inoculation. Carditis and arthritis was determined by blinded histopathologic evaluation of myocardium and tibiotarsal joints. Cytokine measurements were made on lymph node and spleen supernatants for interferon-gamma, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, and IL-13. No differences were observed for C3H.HeJ mice cohorts; however, coinfected BALB/c mice had a significant increase in arthritis severity at day 30. This clinical observation was correlated with a significant reduction in expression of the cytokines IL-10 and IL-13.