The role of the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) in the epizootiology of Lyme borreliosis was evaluated in Castle Rock State Park, Illinois (USA), an enzootic region, from June to August 1993. Prevalence, intensity, and molting rate of immature Ixodes scapularis were determined for chipmunks, white footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), and raccoons (Procyon lotor). Chipmunks were the primary host for I. scapularis nymphs and an important secondary host for I. scapularis larvae. Based upon ear punch biopsy analysis, B. burgdorferi prevalence in chipmunks was similar to that of mice in August and greater than that of mice in June and July. Thus we propose that chipmunks are the primary source of B. burgdorferi infection for I. scapularis nymphs and an important secondary source of infection for larvae.
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Vol. 33 • No. 1