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Lyme borreliosis is a zoonosis affecting humans in the Northern hemisphere. The pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (sl), persists in endemic areas through a maintenance cycle involving ticks and wild animals. The description of different genospecies associated with
Lyme borreliosis in Europe has generated the question concerning the maintenance of these pathogens in nature: how do closely related bacterial species like B. burgdorferi sl circulate between one main tick species, Ixodes ricinus, and several vertebrate host species? Recent studies have provided evidence that specific associations exist in some areas between Borrelia species and vertebrate hosts. The present paper based on this recent knowledge discusses various aspects of the ecology of the
disease in Western Europe, in particular the maintenance and dispersal of the pathogens, and brings up some interesting questions.