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PLEASE NOTE: The schedule posted here is as of 1/25/16, and is subject to change. Please check back for updates.
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Wednesday, January 27 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Wildlife and Domestic Animals Both Contribute To The Ecology and Epidemiology of Lyme Disease In The Upper Midwest

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AUTHORS: Megan Porter, Michigan State University; Graham Hickling, University of Tennessee; Jean Tsao*, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: In the upper Midwest, Lyme disease risk is increasing due to continuing spread of the pathogen’s principle vector, the blacklegged tick Ixodes scapularis. Given that both the Lyme disease pathogen and vector tick are generalist parasites, both wildlife and domestic animals may play roles in its ecology and epidemiology. Wild species are certainly key to maintaining and spreading the vector ticks and the pathogenic Borrelia bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. The contribution of domestic species is less clear. Domestic dogs, and perhaps horses, are spillover hosts for the ticks and pathogen, and like humans, can become infected and sick. In Europe, domestic sheep help maintain populations of ticks that are vectors for Lyme disease, although they are poorly competent for the Lyme bacteria. In the United States, there is little evidence of domestic animals having an equivalent role, except perhaps in areas with few wild ungulates where cattle may be significant hosts for adult ticks. There is also the possibility that humans transporting pets or livestock may be spreading ticks and bacteria to areas outside of the current geographic boundaries of endemic Lyme disease. The ‘two-way street’ most important for Lyme disease in the U.S. is the sharing of knowledge among professionals working with wildlife, domestic animals and public health to increase awareness of emerging tick-borne disease. Toward that end, we have work underway to map the distribution and relative abundance of tick species parasitizing dogs in Michigan. A network of veterinary clinics and animal shelters collecting ticks from dogs is being developed; trends from this network and from a national canine sero-surveillance program will be compared. Understanding the relative efficacy of canine surveillance methods will improve tick-borne disease detection in areas of disease emergence and help public health target Lyme disease prevention practices.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Pearl