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Previous studies from the late 1980s defined the risk of human
Lyme disease by determining the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi infection in Ixodes scapularis ticks and Peromyscus sp. mice captured from areas around La Crosse, Wis. High percentages of B. burgdorferi-infected I. scapularis ticks and P. leucopus mice were common in areas located north of Interstate 90 but were not detected in areas south of this major east-west thoroughfare. In this study, we reevaluated the extent of B. burgdorferi infection. High percentages of mice captured from sites north of the interstate were still infected with B. burgdorferi. In addition, B. burgdorferi was recovered from 12 (67%) of 18 mice captured from a site well south of the highway. However, none of 104 mice or 713 I. scapularis ticks captured from the study sites were infected with Ehrlichia spp. The results confirmed the continued high risk for humans to contract infection with B. burgdorferi and the significant southward expansion of the area in which
Lyme disease is endemic. In contrast, the risk of acquiring human granulocytic ehrlichiosis remains minimal despite the abundance of appropriate vector ticks and reservoir rodents.