The role of deer in facilitating the spatial spread of the pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi


Hartfield, M., White, K. A. J. and Kurtenbach, K., 2011. The role of deer in facilitating the spatial spread of the pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. Theoretical Ecology, 4 (1), pp. 27-36.

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Borrelia burgdorferi is a vector-bourne zoonosis which propagates in wild populations of rodents and deer. The latter are incompetent for the pathogen but are required for the life cycle of hard-backed ticks which act as a vector for the pathogen. Increasing the diversity of hosts has previously suggested the presence of a 'dilution effect' in which such an increase reduces successful pathogen transmission as it increases the chance that a tick will encounter an incompetent host. This paper will produce a model which shows that whilst a dilution effect is possible for a system in which deer are the only incompetent host, this effect is not likely to be strong. Extending the population dynamics to include movement of deer into regions previously only inhabited by competent hosts, we find that, although ticks come in with the deer, there is a significant time lag before Borrelia appears.


Item Type Articles
CreatorsHartfield, M., White, K. A. J. and Kurtenbach, K.
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Uncontrolled Keywordscompartment model,pathogen invasion,borrelia zoonosis,population diffusion,dilution effect
DepartmentsFaculty of Science > Biology & Biochemistry
Faculty of Science > Mathematical Sciences
Research CentresCentre for Mathematical Biology
ID Code23151


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