A seroprevalence survey using an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for IgG antibodies to Borrelia hermsii and Borrelia burgdorferi was conducted for varied pediatric chronic arthritis patients and a nonrheumatic control group in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Overall, a higher rate of sera with IFA titers > or = 1/256 was found for B. hermsii (36.6%) compared to B. burgdorferi (12.5%). There were no significant differences among the arthritis subgroups and controls for the distribution of IFA titers for either organism. IgG immunoblotting of selected high titered sera to either borrelia species confirmed the lack of specificity of the IFA assay. Serological tests for borreliosis should be cautiously interpreted in children with chronic arthritis.