Due to local variation in the antigenicity of the agent of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), a vaccine derived from any one isolate of this spirochete may fail to protect against the heterogeneous population of organisms that may be present in an enzootic focus. Accordingly, we determined whether antigenically variable spirochetes delivered by naturally infected ticks, collected from a site where transmission is intense, may fail to infect mice actively immunized with recombinant glutathione transferase outer surface fusion proteins A or B (OspA and OspB). Virtually all mice vaccinated by either immunogen appeared not to become infected, as determined by culture or histopathology of their tissues. We conclude that Osp vaccination of mice effectively prevents infection by the agent of Lyme disease in a simulated natural cycle of transmission.

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