Combining Citizen Science and Genomics to Investigate Tick, Pathogen, and Commensal Microbiome at Single-Tick Resolution

The prevalence of tickborne diseases worldwide is increasing virtually unchecked due to the lack of effective control strategies. The transmission dynamics of tickborne pathogens are influenced by the tick microbiome, tick co-infection with other pathogens, and environmental features. Understanding this complex system could lead to new strategies for pathogen control, but will require large-scale, high-resolution data. Here, we introduce Project Acari, a citizen science-based project to assay, at single-tick resolution, species, pathogen infection status, microbiome profile, and environmental conditions of tens of thousands of ticks collected from numerous sites across the United States. In the first phase of the project, we collected more than 2,400 ticks wild-caught by citizen scientists and developed high-throughput methods to process and sequence them individually. Applying these methods to 192 Ixodes scapularis ticks collected in a region with a high incidence of Lyme disease, we found that 62% were colonized by Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease pathogen. In contrast to previous reports, we did not find an association between the microbiome diversity of a tick and its probability of carrying B. burgdorferi. However, we did find undescribed associations between B. burgdorferi carriage and the presence of specific microbial taxa within individual ticks. Our findings underscore the power of coupling citizen science with high-throughput processing to reveal pathogen dyn...
Source: Frontiers in Genetics - Category: Genetics & Stem Cells Source Type: research

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Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Aug;27(8):2017-2024. doi: 10.3201/eid2708.204763.ABSTRACTLyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is the most common tickborne disease in the United States and Europe. In both locations, Ixodes species ticks transmit the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato bacteria species responsible for causing the infection. The diversity of Borrelia species that cause human infection is greater in Europe; the 2 B. burgdorferi s.l. species collectively responsible for most infections in Europe, B. afzelii and B. garinii, are not found in the United States, where most infections are caused by B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. St...
Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases - Category: Infectious Diseases Authors: Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 12 July 2021Source: Ticks and Tick-borne DiseasesAuthor(s): Taylor J. Van Gundy, Amy J. Ullmann, Kevin S. Brandt, Robert D. Gilmore
Source: Ticks and Tick borne Diseases - Category: Zoology Source Type: research
We present a case of a patient who suffered from serious complications associated with the treatment of “chronic Lyme disease.” Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is characterized by dermatological, rheumatological, neurological, and/or cardiac manifestations responsive to antimicrobial therapy. “chronic Lyme disease”, by contrast, is a term used to describe a constellation of subjective symptoms, often without clinical or serological evidence of previous Lyme disease.
Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings - Category: Internal Medicine Authors: Tags: Letter to the editor Source Type: research
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2021 Jun 30:AEM0064121. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00641-21. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTThe microbiome of blood-sucking arthropods can shape their competence to acquire and maintain infections with vector-borne pathogens. We used a controlled study to investigate the interactions between Borrelia afzelii, which causes Lyme disease in Europe, and the bacterial microbiome of Ixodes ricinus, its primary tick vector. We applied a surface sterilization treatment to I. ricinus eggs to produce dysbiosed tick larvae that had a much lower bacterial abundance and a changed bacterial microbiome compared to the contro...
Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology - Category: Microbiology Authors: Source Type: research
At my animal hospital in upstate New York, an epicenter of the U.S. tick epidemic, my dog Fawn lets out a whimper as the veterinarian injects her with her annual Lyme disease shot. I roll my eyes. She doesn’t know how good she has it. The injection means that if a tick bites her (and in rural New York, a tick always does), the creepy crawly will feast on dog blood that’s been supercharged with a Lyme bacteria-killing substance, and Lyme disease won’t be transmitted to Fawn. I wish I could be shot up with that superpower. Currently, there is no human vaccine for Lyme disease—even though more than two...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Disease feature Source Type: news
Publication date: Available online 10 June 2021Source: Ticks and Tick-borne DiseasesAuthor(s): Katherine A. Wolcott, Gabriele Margos, Volker Fingerle, Noémie S. Becker
Source: Ticks and Tick borne Diseases - Category: Zoology Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 6 June 2021Source: Ticks and Tick-borne DiseasesAuthor(s): Jennifer L. Sidge, Erik S. Foster, Danielle E. Buttke, Andrias Hojgaard, Christine B. Graham, Jean I. Tsao
Source: Ticks and Tick borne Diseases - Category: Zoology Source Type: research
Canine vector-borne diseases (CVBDs) associated to ticks are among the most important health issues affecting dogs. In Italy, Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma spp., Rickettsia conorii and Borrelia burgdorferi (s.l.) ha...
Source: Parasites and Vectors - Category: Microbiology Authors: Tags: Research Source Type: research
Various tick-borne infections like borreliosis and rickettsiosis pose a health risk to humans in many parts of the world. We investigated seroprevalence of and seroconversion to Borrelia burgdorferi and Rickettsi...
Source: Parasites and Vectors - Category: Microbiology Authors: Tags: Research Source Type: research
Tick-borne pathogens other than Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato – the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis – are common in Ixodes ricinus ticks. How often these pathogens cause human disease is unknown. In additio...
Source: BMC Infectious Diseases - Category: Infectious Diseases Authors: Tags: Study protocol Source Type: research
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