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Title: Local community composition drives avian Borrelia burgdorferi infection and tick infestation
Globally, zoonotic vector-borne diseases are on the rise and understanding their complex transmission cycles is pertinent to mitigating disease risk. In North America, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease and is caused by transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) from Ixodes spp. ticks to a diverse group of vertebrate hosts. Small mammal reservoir hosts are primarily responsible for maintenance of B. burgdorferi s.l. across the United States. Never- theless, birds can also be parasitized by ticks and are capable of infection with B. burgdorferi s.l. but their role in B. burgdorferi s.l. transmission dynamics is understudied. Birds could be important in both the maintenance and spread of B. burgdorferi s.l. and ticks because of their high mobility and shared habitat with important mammalian reservoir hosts. This study aims to better understand the role of avian hosts in tick-borne zoonotic disease transmission cycles in the western United States. We surveyed birds, mammals, and ticks at nine sites in northern California for B. burgdorferi s.l. infection and collected data on other metrics of host community composition such as abundance and diversity of birds, small mammals, lizards, predators, and ticks. We found 22.8% of birds infected with B. burgdorferi more » s.l. and that the likelihood of avian B. burgdorferi s.l. infection was significantly associated with local host community composition and pathogen prevalence in California. Addition- ally, we found an average tick burden of 0.22 ticks per bird across all species. Predator and lizard abundances were significant predictors of avian tick infestation. These results indicate that birds are relevant hosts in the local B. burgdorferi s.l. transmission cycle in the western United States and quantifying their role in the spread and maintenance of Lyme disease requires further research. « less
Authors:
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Award ID(s):
1750037
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10319173
Journal Name:
Veterinary sciences
Volume:
9
Issue:
55
ISSN:
2306-7381
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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