California birds appear to be link in Lyme disease chain

Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, was found in blood samples from 23 out of 53 avian species tested in Mendocino County, Calif., according to research published in PLOS One. Some 30,000 people become infected with Lyme disease every year in the U.S., according to estimates, and the bird research suggests a new link in the chain of transmission. The study suggests “the potential for bird-mediated geographic spread of vector ticks and spirochetes,” said the paper. Borrelia bissettii, which causes Lyme-like disease in parts of Europe, was also found in some of the birds. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Science Now blog (2/25)

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