Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, a fastidious, microaerophilic bacterium that replicates slowly and requires special media to grow in the laboratory (Shapiro and Gerber 2000). The organism has been subclassified into several genomospecies, including B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. garinii, B. afzelii and others. Different genomospecies seem to be associated with an increased likelihood of certain specific manifestations of Lyme disease — for example, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto seems to have a prediction to cause arthritis (if not treated early), while B. garinii seems to be associated with an increased risk of neurological manifestations of Lyme disease. In the United States, only B. burgdorferi sensu stricto has been isolated from humans. In contrast, there is substantial variation in the genomospecies of B. burgdorferi sensu lato isolated from humans in Europe.


Lyme Disease Sensu Stricto Nonspecific Symptom Borrelia Burgdorferi Erythema Migrans 
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© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene D. Shapiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsYale University School of MedicineNew Haven

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