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Article

Local Community Composition Drives Avian Borrelia burgdorferi Infection and Tick Infestation

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Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA 94132, USA
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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 612 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
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Department of Biology, Stanford University, 371 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 31 Ames St., Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
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San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District, 1351 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA 94010, USA
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ryo Nakao and Mohamed Abdallah Mohamed Moustafa
Vet. Sci. 2022, 9(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci9020055
Received: 20 September 2021 / Revised: 23 January 2022 / Accepted: 25 January 2022 / Published: 29 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick-Borne Pathogens and Symbionts)
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. Nevertheless, 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 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. Additionally, 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: disease ecology; community ecology; avian hosts; Lyme disease; Borrelia burgdorferi disease ecology; community ecology; avian hosts; Lyme disease; Borrelia burgdorferi
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lilly, M.; Amaya-Mejia, W.; Pavan, L.; Peng, C.; Crews, A.; Tran, N.; Sehgal, R.; Swei, A. Local Community Composition Drives Avian Borrelia burgdorferi Infection and Tick Infestation. Vet. Sci. 2022, 9, 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci9020055

AMA Style

Lilly M, Amaya-Mejia W, Pavan L, Peng C, Crews A, Tran N, Sehgal R, Swei A. Local Community Composition Drives Avian Borrelia burgdorferi Infection and Tick Infestation. Veterinary Sciences. 2022; 9(2):55. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci9020055

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lilly, Marie, Wilmer Amaya-Mejia, Lucas Pavan, Ceili Peng, Arielle Crews, Nghia Tran, Ravinder Sehgal, and Andrea Swei. 2022. "Local Community Composition Drives Avian Borrelia burgdorferi Infection and Tick Infestation" Veterinary Sciences 9, no. 2: 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci9020055

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