Serum samples from Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mouse), collected in Connecticut (USA) in 1983, 1985, and during 1990 to 1993, were analyzed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) staining methods for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi (strain 2591), Babesia microti, Ehrlichia chaffeensis (Arkansas strain), and Ehrlichia equi (MRK strain). Of the 294 serum samples tested, 160 (54%) contained immunoglobulins to one or more of these pathogens. There were antibodies to two or more etiologic agents in 77 (48%) of the seropositive mice. Although it was uncommon to detect coexisting antibodies to all four pathogens (n = 5 positive mice), E. chaffeensis-reactive antibodies or immunoglobulins to E. equi were present along with those produced to B. burgdorferi and B. microti in 24 other mice. These rodents carry antibodies to several tick-borne pathogens at numerous sites in Connecticut and may play a role in the epizootiology of ehrlichiosis as well as babesiosis and Lyme borreliosis.
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Vol. 33 • No. 3