Term of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

James H. Oliver, Jr.

Committee Member 1

William S. Irby

Committee Member 2

Wayne A. Krissinger


The SI-4 strain of Borrelia burgdorferi obtained from field collected Ixodes scapularis on Sapelo Island, Georgia, was infective to seven of eight cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) by needle inoculation. I. scapularis larvae were then fed on them, and nymphs molting from these larvae were then fed on laboratory mice, Mus musculus, in an attempt to transmit the spirochete. One of three mice was successfully infected; confirmation of the presence of B. burgdorferi was made using BSK II culture and the polymerase chain reaction (PGR). A subsequent attempt was made to determine if SI-4 was infective for Eumeces spp. skinks, a common host to /. scapularis immatures and a potential reservoir host for B. burgdorferi in the southeastern United States. Skinks were inoculated with the SI-4 isolate by needle and also by feeding potentially infected ticks on them. Subsequent attempts to determine presence of the spirochete in these skinks using PGR assay of their organs were inconclusive.


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