Event Title

The Unseen Role of Shrews in Transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi: Range Expansion of Ixodes affinis Contributes to Pathogen Reservoir Maintenance

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Start Date

18-2-2017 8:00 AM

End Date

18-2-2017 12:30 PM

Description

Lyme disease remains a persistent threat to residents of Virginia. According to the CDC, there were nearly 1000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Virginia in 2014. Lyme disease is a vector borne illness caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted via ticks. Many of the host animals on which a tick feeds can function as reservoirs of this pathogen; this relationship is important in controlling human disease. An increase in B. burgdorferi infected reservoirs may manifest as an increase in Lyme disease incidence in humans. While the role of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) in the transmission of B. burgdorferi is well characterized, this study investigates the short-tailed shrew (Blarina spp.) and another blacklegged tick (Ixodes affinis) as additional potential reservoirs for B. burgdorferi. Blarina brevicauda tail snips (n=8) and Ixodes spp. ticks (n=31) collected from the shrews in Virginia during 2015-16 were tested for B. burgdorferi. Shrew tissue samples from Minnesota (n=41), Kansas (n=19), and North Dakota (n=4) were also tested. High prevalence rates of B. burgdorferi were detected in both ticks and shrews Further investigation is necessary to fully explore this possibility.

Comments

Mentors: Drs. Holly Gaff and Wayne Hynes
Biological Sciences

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Feb 18th, 8:00 AM Feb 18th, 12:30 PM

The Unseen Role of Shrews in Transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi: Range Expansion of Ixodes affinis Contributes to Pathogen Reservoir Maintenance

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Lyme disease remains a persistent threat to residents of Virginia. According to the CDC, there were nearly 1000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Virginia in 2014. Lyme disease is a vector borne illness caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted via ticks. Many of the host animals on which a tick feeds can function as reservoirs of this pathogen; this relationship is important in controlling human disease. An increase in B. burgdorferi infected reservoirs may manifest as an increase in Lyme disease incidence in humans. While the role of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) in the transmission of B. burgdorferi is well characterized, this study investigates the short-tailed shrew (Blarina spp.) and another blacklegged tick (Ixodes affinis) as additional potential reservoirs for B. burgdorferi. Blarina brevicauda tail snips (n=8) and Ixodes spp. ticks (n=31) collected from the shrews in Virginia during 2015-16 were tested for B. burgdorferi. Shrew tissue samples from Minnesota (n=41), Kansas (n=19), and North Dakota (n=4) were also tested. High prevalence rates of B. burgdorferi were detected in both ticks and shrews Further investigation is necessary to fully explore this possibility.