Avian contributions to the emergence of Lyme borreliosis in Michigan.
SARA YAREMYCH, JEAN TSAO, EDWARD WALKER and GRAHAM HICKLING, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI.
Disease emergence involves a complex interaction among pathogens, vectors, and hosts within environments receptive to support transmission cycles. In Michigan, we are studying an invasion of Ixodes scapularis ticks that is presently leading to increased incidence of human and canine cases of Lyme disease. In 2004, we initiated a field study to investigate the mechanisms of this invasion. Through analysis of field collections of ticks, tissues, and serum of wild mammals and birds throughout lower Michigan, we aim to better understand this multi-host, multi-tick system to predict the future spread of Lyme borreliosis in Michigan. Our presentation will emphasize the potential role of birds in expanding the distribution of vector-competent ticks and the Lyme borreliosis pathogen in the Midwest.