Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media



Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Disease Author: Yale School of Public Health Last Updated: Jul 7, 2016 - 5:36:25 PM



Birds Play an Important Role in the Spread of Lyme Disease, Yale Study Finds

By Yale School of Public Health
Dec 23, 2009 - 10:52:15 AM



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust


Email this article
 Printer friendly page
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - New Haven, Conn. – The range of Lyme disease is spreading in North America and it appears that birds play a significant role by transporting the Lyme disease bacterium over long distances, a new study by the Yale School of Public Health has found. The study appears online in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Researchers analyzed published records and concluded that at least 70 species of North American birds are susceptible to infection by black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), the principal vector of the Lyme disease bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi). The evidence also suggests that these bird species are dispersing infected ticks into areas that had previously been free of the disease, such as Canada.

Lyme disease bacterium is usually associated with small mammals such as mice and squirrels. Immature ticks (in the larval and nymphal stages) become infected with the bacterium when they feed on these mammals. During subsequent blood meals, an infected tick transmits the infection to other hosts, including humans. White-tailed deer—while playing an important role in maintaining and spreading tick populations—are a biological dead end for the bacterium because its blood is immune to infection.

Birds, however, are not immune and numerous species get infected and are capable of transmitting the pathogen onto ticks, the researchers found. What remains to be seen is whether the B. burgdorferi strains that can infect birds can also cause disease in humans. If so, the role of birds in the epidemiology of Lyme disease could be profound.

“Birds are often overlooked in Lyme disease studies,” said Robert Brinkerhoff, a post-doctoral student in Maria A. Diuk-Wasser’s lab at the School of Public Health and first author of the paper, “but they may be playing a key role in its rapid expansion.”

The researchers found that I. scapularis most consistently parasitizes bird species such as thrushes, brown thrashers, wrens and wood warblers. The authors estimate that as few as three individual birds are needed to infect one black-legged tick with the bacterium.

Lyme disease can cause severe health problems, including arthritis, nervous system abnormalities and irregular heart rhythm. It is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with the number of reported human infections doubling between 1992 and 2006.

Other authors of the paper include research assistant Corrine M. Folsom-O’Keefe, Kimberly Tsao, a Ph.D. student and Maria Diuk-Wasser, assistant professor, all at the Yale School of Public Health.

Subscribe to our FREE Ezine and be eligible for Health News, discounted products/services and coupons related to your Health. We publish 24/7.
HealthNewsDigest.com
We videotape Press Conferences, produce SMT's, VNR's, B-rolls, PSA's, - all with distribution: HealthyTelevisionProductions


Top of Page

HealthNewsDigest.com

Disease
Latest Headlines


+ ALS: New Clues to the Cause and How Future Drugs Might Reverse Disease
+ ALS: New Clues to the Cause and How Future Drugs Might Reverse Disease
+ Potential Cause for Lupus
+ Coping with Lack of Medications When You Have a Chronic Disease
+ Trouble Remembering Details of Social Interactions Seen in All Phases of Schizophrenia
+ Antibiotics Taken Late in Pregnancy Can Increase Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Offspring
+ Malaria Drug Protects Fetuses from Zika Infection
+ Ticked Off About Tick Season? Here’s How to Protect Your Pets
+ People with Parkinson’s Should be Monitored for Melanoma
+ ‘Lighting the Way’ for People With Huntington’s Disease



Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions