High burdens of Ixodes scapularis larval ticks on white-tailed deer may limit Lyme disease risk in a low biodiversity setting

Huang, C, Kay, S, Davis, S, Tufts, D, Gaffett, K, Tefft, B and Diuk-Wasser, M 2019, 'High burdens of Ixodes scapularis larval ticks on white-tailed deer may limit Lyme disease risk in a low biodiversity setting', Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 258-268.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title High burdens of Ixodes scapularis larval ticks on white-tailed deer may limit Lyme disease risk in a low biodiversity setting
Author(s) Huang, C
Kay, S
Davis, S
Tufts, D
Gaffett, K
Tefft, B
Diuk-Wasser, M
Year 2019
Journal name Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume number 10
Issue number 2
Start page 258
End page 268
Total pages 11
Publisher Elsevier GmbH - Urban und Fischer
Abstract An inverse relationship between biodiversity and human health has been termed the 'dilution effect' paradigm. In the case of tick-borne infections such as Lyme disease, the key assumption is that Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato abundance is increased by the loss of less competent (dilution) hosts as biodiversity declines. White-tailed deer play a dual role in the pathogen cycle, as key reproductive hosts for adult ticks and incompetent hosts for the pathogen. While the role of deer as hosts of adult ticks is well established, the extent to which deer also feed immature ticks and reduce the proportion infected is unknown because of logistic constraints in measuring this empirically. We estimated the proportion of larvae that fed on deer in an extremely species-poor community on Block Island, RI, where tick nymphal infection prevalence was found to be lower than expected. In 2014, we measured the density, larval tick burdens, and realized reservoir competence of small mammal and bird hosts on Block Island, RI. In 2015, we measured the infection prevalence of host-seeking Ixodes scapularis nymphs resulting from larvae fed on available hosts in 2014. We back-estimated the proportion of larvae expected to have fed on deer in 2014 (the only unknown parameter) to result in the nymphal infection prevalence observed in 2015. Back-estimation predicted that 29% of larval ticks must have fed on deer to yield the observed 30% nymphal infection prevalence. In comparison, the proportion of larvae feeding on mice was 44% and 27% on birds. Our study identified an influential role of deer in reducing nymphal tick infection prevalence and a potential role as dilution hosts if the reduction in nymphal infection prevalence outweighs the role of deer as tick population amplifiers. Because both deer and competent hosts may increase in anthropogenic, fragmented habitats, the links between fragmentation, biodiversity, and Lyme disease risk may be complex and difficult to predict. Furthermor
Subject Biological Mathematics
Keyword(s) Borrelia burgdorferi
Dilution effect
Infectious disease emergence
Ixodes scapularis
Lyme disease
Vector-borne diseases
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.10.013
Copyright notice © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license 4.0
ISSN 1877-959X
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Altmetric details:
Access Statistics: 10 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Thu, 27 Jun 2019, 10:20:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
© 2014 RMIT Research Repository • Powered by Fez SoftwareContact us