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The vector competence of Ixodes angustus for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.) was investigated in the laboratory. The larval progeny of female ticks from Washington State were placed on Swiss-Webster mice that had been inoculated intravenously with 10(8) spirochetes each of a Californian isolate of B. burgdorferi. Spirochetes were detected in 6 (12%) of 50 nymphs derived from larvae that had fed on these animals. Ten nymphs from the same cohort of experimentally infected ticks were placed on each of 4 naive deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). One of the mice seroconverted to B. burgdorferi and spirochetes were isolated from its ear tissues 4 weeks after exposure to ticks. Further vector competence trials were conducted with I. angustus ticks from California. Larvae were fed on deer mice that had been inoculated intradermally with B. burgdoferi along with larvae of I. spinipalpis as a comparison group. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of infection in nymphs of I. angustus (8.2%) versus those of I. spinipalpis (12.1%). We conclude that I. angustus is a competent experimental vector of B. burgdorferi s.s. and its efficiency for acquiring and transstadially passing such spirochetes is similar to that of I. spinipalpis.