Predators, Prey and Lyme Disease

According to the national Center of Disease Control, Lyme disease has spread in recent months. Deer ticks are often blamed for the transmission of Lyme disease.This species of tick received its name becuase as many as 1,000 individuals can sustain themselves off a single deer. Although deer have long been named the primary carriers of Lyme disease bacteria, research is now suggesting otherwise. Scientists have now found that although deer play a role in the transmission of harmful bacteria, it is minimal compared to the roles of white-footed mice and other small mammals. In fact, scientists have now concluded that these mice, not deer, are the primary carriers of the bacteria. Likewise, larger predators such as coyotes and foxes have also been associated with the transmission of Lyme disease. Because these large predators consume smaller species, such as the white-footed mouse, they play an integral role in the life cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.

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Sarah Perez

Chapter 5

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