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Wrong Willy Burgdorfer?

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer

Doctors and Researcher

Lyme Books

HQ Phone: (419) 651-7306

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Lyme Books

234 Parkside Drive

Ashland, Ohio 44805

United States

Company Description

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is a tick borne infection. Once infected there are different stages of infection. There is a wide range of symptoms, and they vary in everyone. ... more

Find other employees at this company (25)

Background Information

Employment History


Medical Entomologist

National Institutes of Health




Board Member
Lyme Disease Foundation , Inc.

Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Scientist Emeritus

Zoologist and Microbiologist, Scientist Emeritus
NIH Institutes

Board Member
LDF Founding

Associate Member On the Forces Epidemiology Board
Rickettsial Commission of the Armed



zoology , parasitology and bacteriology


PhD Degree

University of Basel

hon. M.D.

honorary MD degree

University of Bern

honorary MD degree

University of Marseille

Web References (163 Total References)

Dr Willy Burgdorfer ... [cached]

Dr Willy Burgdorfer

Willy Burgdorfer, PhD, MD ... [cached]

Willy Burgdorfer, PhD, MD (Hon)

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer discovered the causative agent of LD, Borrelia burgdorferi. This spirochete (a type of bacterium) was subsequently named in his honor. Dr. Burgdorfer is an international leader in researching interactions between animal and human disease agents and the organisms that transmit them. He has received numerous awards including the prestigious Koch Award, the Bristol Award, the Schaudinn-Hoffman Plaque, and the Walter Reed Gold Medal. He is coeditor of the book Aspects of Lyme Borreliosis and has published over 220 papers and edited numerous books. Willy received his PhD from the University of Basel and honorary MD degrees from the University of Bern and University of Marseille. Dr. Burgdorfer has cochaired several LDF International Scientific Conferences and is active on the LDF's Scientific /Medical Advisory Committee. He serves as Deputy Editor of the LDF's peer-reviewed Journal of Spirochetal and Tick-borne Diseases.

NatCapLyme | Tick-Borne Diseases [cached]

The species responsible for Lyme symptoms was named Borrelia burgdorferi after its discoverer, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Lyme disease (LD) is an ... [cached]

Lyme disease (LD) is an infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, named after its discoverer, Willy Burgdorfer, PhD.

Lyme Disease NIH INfo 2012 [cached]

Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., seen here inoculating ticks, discovered the spirochete, or corkscrew-shaped bacterium, that causes Lyme disease. The spirochete was later named for Dr. Burgdorfer: Borrelia burgdorferi. Credit: NIAID/RML

Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, was first isolated in 1982 by Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., a zoologist and microbiologist at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.
About 2,000 miles away at RML, Dr. Burgdorfer was studying Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Dr. Burgdorfer was trying to help Jorge Benach, Ph.D., find the cause of more than 100 cases of spotted fever that occurred in New York from 1971 to 1976.
Dr. Benach, of the New York State Health Department, had been a source of American dog ticks for Dr. Burgdorfer to study.
Some 30 years earlier, while a college student in Basel, Switzerland, Dr. Burgdorfer began his studies of tickborne diseases and focused on relapsing fever. This bacterial disease was spread by fast-feeding, soft-bodied ticks that sent infectious corkscrew-shaped spirochetes into their blood-meal hosts. At the time of Dr. Burgdorfer's collaboration with Dr. Benach, spirochetes in slow-feeding, hard-bodied ticks-such as the deer tick or American dog tick-were rarely found.
Here is how all the preceding clues came together, as shared by Dr. Burgdorfer in a 1993 article he wrote for Clinics in Dermatology. Following his sabbatical, Dr. Burgdorfer resumed his Rocky Mountain spotted fever collaboration with Dr. Benach.
Dr. Burgdorfer recalled a 1949 conference he attended where attendees discussed a little-supported theory on Ixodidae-the family of hard ticks-spreading spirochetes and causing a European skin disorder.
Within hours of spotting and confirming the presence of spirochetes in the deer ticks, Dr. Burgdorfer dissected the remaining 124 ticks and found 75 with spirochetes. He cautiously wondered if he had found the cause of both the European skin disorder-erythema migrans-and Lyme disease. After notifying Dr. Benach and receiving serum from recovering Lyme disease patients, Dr. Burgdorfer and his colleagues found antibodies in the patient serum that reacted to spirochetes they had found in the deer ticks.
For his role, the Lyme-causing spirochete was named for Dr. Burgdorfer: Borrelia burgdorferi.

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