Landscape determinants of density of blacklegged ticks, vectors of Lyme disease, at the northern edge of their distribution in Canada.
ABSTRACT: In eastern North America, including Canada, Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto and transmitted to humans by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. The last decade has seen a growing incidence of Lyme disease in Canada, following the northward range expansion of I. scapularis tick populations from endemic areas in eastern United States. This may be attributable to movement of the many hosts that they parasitize, including songbirds, deer and small mammals. In this study, we wanted to test the effect of spatial, temporal and ecological variables, on blacklegged tick density and infection rates, near the northern limit of their distribution in Ontario and Quebec, Canada. We found an effect of both proportion of forested areas and distance to roads, on density of I. scapularis ticks and prevalence of infection by B. burgdorferi. We also found an effect of both sampling year and ordinal sampling data on prevalence of infection by B. burgdorferi. In six adjacent sites showing evidence of reproducing I. scapularis populations, we found that forest composition and structure influenced density of I. scapularis ticks. Our results suggest that blacklegged tick density and infection rate in Canada may be influenced by a variety of factors.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC6853933 | BioStudies |