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Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria which infects many vertebrates including humans. Borrelia have been isolated from many parts of the world, and there is interest to identify common genetic markers to improve molecular methods of diagnosis, and to aid in understanding varied manifestations of the
disease. A total of 48 Borrelia burgdorferi strains, including: 38 isolated from ticks (Ixodes dammini, I. persulcatus, I. ricinus and I. pacificus), 3 from animals (dog, bird and hamster), and 7 from human clinical cases (skin, CSF, plasma and blood) from different geographic areas, were studied by DNA/DNA hybridization and rRNA gene restriction patterns by using a biotinylated pKK3535 probe (Altewegg M., Mayer L.W., 1989). The migration patterns of rRNA gene-restriction fragments after clevage by Hind III separate these strains into 5 ribotypes of Borrelia burgdorferi: Type I (38 American,2 European strains); Type II (13 American strains); Type III (3 Asian and 1 European strains); Type IV (1 European and 2 Asian strains) and Type V (1 Asian strain). The use of ribotyping has provided an additional tool to investigate the differences or common patterns which cause various
Lyme disease syndromes.