Transmission dynamics ofBorrelia burgdorferis.l. in a bird tick community

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SummaryWe examined theBorrelia burgdorferisensu lato circulation in a tick community consisting of three species (Ixodes ricinus,I. frontalis,I. arboricola) with contrasting ecologies, but sharing two European songbird hosts (Parus majorandCyanistes caeruleus).Parus majorhad the highest infestation rates, primarily due to larger numbers ofI. ricinus, and probably because of their greater low-level foraging. The prevalence ofBorreliain feeding ticks did not significantly differ between the two bird species; however,P. majorin particular hosted large numbers ofBorrelia-infectedI. frontalisandI. ricinuslarvae, suggesting that the species facilitatesBorreliatransmission. The low but significant numbers ofBorreliain questingI. arboricolaticks also provides the first field data to suggest that it is competent in maintainingBorrelia. Aside fromBorrelia garinii, a high number of less dominant genospecies was observed, including several mammalian genospecies and the first record ofBorrelia turdifor North-Western Europe.Borrelia burgdorferisensu lato IGS genotypes were shared betweenI. arboricolaandI. ricinusand betweenI. frontalisandI. ricinus,but not betweenI. arboricolaandI. frontalis. This suggests that theBorreliaspp. transmission cycles can be maintained by bird-specific ticks, and bridged byI. ricinusto other hosts outside bird-tick cycles.

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