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Published in Emerging Infectious Diseases • • Vol. 14, No. 3, March 2008.


Tick-borne relapsing fever in western North America is a zoonosis caused by spirochetes in the genus Borrelia that are transmitted by argasid ticks of the genus Ornithodoros (1). Human disease occurs in many focal areas and is associated with infections of Borrelia hermsii, B. turicatae, and possibly B. parkeri (2,3). Although the ecologic parameters that maintain B. hermsii and B. turicatae differ, human infections usually occur in rustic cabins (B. hermsii) and caves (B. turicatae) inhabited by ticks and their terrestrial vertebrate hosts (1). Recently, Gill et al. (4) provided evidence that the argasid bat tick, Carios kelleyi, feeds upon humans. Subsequently, Loftis et al. (5) used PCR analysis and DNA sequencing to detect in C. kelleyi an unidentifi ed Borrelia species that was closely related to B. turicatae and B. parkeri.

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