I found the overlay map I posted earlier this week to be intriguing, I don't think that tracking infected ticks on birds is as simple as following major and principal flyways - even though that could be a reasonable point to start an investigation.
Yale has already done some work in this area, and I have no idea whether or not they've factored the results of this publication, "Do birds affect Lyme disease risk? Range expansion of the vector-borne pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi", into their recently published Lyme disease risk map.
It's important not to discount the role of birds here:
"Although the role of birds in B burgdorferi transmission dynamics is often discounted, data compiled from published studies indicate that the majority (58.6%) of bird species that have been evaluated are capable of infecting larval I scapularis with B burgdorferi. We estimated – for two bird species – that the number of individual birds required to produce one infected I scapularis larva is as low as three, and we conclude that bird-mediated tick movement is an important factor in the range expansion of both I scapularis and B burgdorferi."Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/090062
There are certain behaviors birds engage in and seasonal activities which would lead to a higher likelihood of birds contributing to the spread of Lyme disease on the ground. Specific kinds of birds would be more likely to contribute to infection spread than others - for example, I suspect birds which build their nests on the ground and are ground-based hunters are more likely to contribute to infected tick populations than birds which build their nests in trees. Also, some birds feast on ticks (such as guinea fowl) and they will lower local tick populations.
These are just a few examples - there are many more. I imagine there is no simple algorithm for determining the role for birds in spreading infection. I don't know what all the factors are which would contribute to the spread of Lyme disease via birds, and it's something I continue to look into because it does play an important role in surveillance and determining how infection could spread through different vectors.
Photo credit: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de
Cool Lyme Disease T-shirts:
While doing a general search for Lyme disease related news the other day, I came across these shirts on Cafe Press:
I think they must have had me in mind as a target demographic, because it's the first Lyme disease related t-shirt that I've seen which appealed to my appreciation of the TV show, "The Big Bang Theory", and also appealed to my appreciation on word play while mentioning Lyme disease research. It says "More nervous tics than a Lyme disease research facility"- playing on the word "tics" or "ticks".
There are a number of products for sale with this slogan on it (not just t-shirts) at Cafe Press - I don't know who is selling them and if they're another Lyme disease patient or not - the product page did not display this information. Check it out if you think it's something you'd like, too.
My Evil Twin?
Tick Borne Diseases Radio, with entries in it which upon reading looked strikingly similar to my own blog at first glance. However, after more examination, it's clear Tom's blog contains different content and his own unique commentary on the same topics which have grabbed my attention.
(Just so everyone knows, I have no problem with anyone passing on the content I write here as long as you give this blog credit and link to it. That's why I have a Creative Commons license posted at the bottom of each entry - so you know I support a more open source approach to copyright.)
Tom also has a podcast on iTunes on Tick Borne Diseases:
How about going over there to Tom's site and giving it a good read, and encouraging him to continue to post more podcasts and blog entries? It looks like he has a good thing going on and more content like his would be welcome - particularly more podcasts.
This work by Camp Other is licensed under a Creative Commons
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