To determine the vectors of
Lyme borreliosis in Japan, the ixodid ticks taken in Hokkaido, Fukushima, Nagano, Ehime, and Kochi Prefectures were examined individually for spirochetal infections by culturing their midgut tissues in BSK medium. The cultivable spirochetes identified as Borrelia burgdorferi were detected in Ixodes persulcatus Schulze adults (15.5% of 634), nymph (6.7% of 15) and Ixodes ovatus Neumann adult (9.6% of 188) from Hokkaido, I. ovatus adults (25.5% of 47) from Fukushima, and I. persulcatus adults (21.7% of 143) and I. ovatus adults (27.1% of 85) from Nagano. However, 72 Haemaphysalis spp. from Ehime and Kochi were free from spirochetal infection. I. persulcatus is a vector of
Lyme borreliosis in the Far East, but in Japan, I. ovatus may also transmit the spirochetes to human and feral animals.