#Lyme #neuroborreliosis and #bird #populations in northern #Europe (Proc Roy Soc B., abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B., full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Lyme neuroborreliosis and bird populations in northern Europe

Atle Mysterud, Dieter J. A. Heylen, Erik Matthysen, Aïda Lopez Garcia, Solveig Jore and Hildegunn Viljugrein

Published: 29 May 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.0759



Many vector-borne diseases are transmitted through complex pathogen–vector–host networks, which makes it challenging to identify the role of specific host groups in disease emergence. Lyme borreliosis in humans is now the most common vector-borne zoonosis in the Northern Hemisphere. The disease is caused by multiple genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi sensulato bacteria transmitted by ixodid (hard) ticks, and the major host groups transmit Borrelia genospecies with different pathogenicity, causing variable clinical symptoms in humans. The health impact of a given host group is a function of the number of ticks it infects as well as the pathogenicity of the genospecies it carries. Borrelia afzelii, with mainly small mammals as reservoirs, is the most common pathogen causing Lyme borreliosis, and it is often responsible for the largest proportion of infected host-seeking tick nymphs in Europe. The bird-borne Borrelia garinii, though less prevalent in nymphal ticks, is more likely to cause Lyme neuroborreliosis, but whether B. garinii causes disseminated disease more frequently has not been documented. Based on extensive data of annual disease incidence across Norway from 1995 to 2017, we show here that 69% of disseminated Lyme borreliosis cases were neuroborreliosis, which is three times higher than predicted from the infection prevalence of B. garinii in host-seeking ticks (21%). The population estimate of migratory birds, mainly of thrushes, explained part of the annual variation in cases of neuroborreliosis, with a one-year time lag. We highlight the important role of the genospecies’ pathogenicity and the host associations for understanding the epidemiology of disseminated Lyme borreliosis.

Keywords: Lyme’s Disease; Borrelia spp.; Wild Birds; European Region; Lyme’s Neuroborreliosis.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.