First study on birds as hosts of Lyme Disease
Excerpted from Pravda.ru: (01/09/2013)
Researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal lead the first study on the role of birds as reservoir hosts of the bacterium that causes Lyme borreliosis. The blackbird is a major reservoir host of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., responsible for Lyme disease – a disease that, if not treated at an early stage, causes severe lesions in the neurological, dermatological and articular systems.
This is the main conclusion of the first study in Portugal focused on the role of birds as agents for spread of infectious disease and as a reservoir of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., which is maintained in nature by various groups of vertebrates, including birds and some species of mammals and reptiles. This bacterium is transmitted by ticks, especially Ixodes ricinus.
Funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the study was developed over the past three years by a team of five researchers from the University of Coimbra, Center for the Study of Infectious Disease Vectors and the Dr. Ricardo Jorge National Institute of Health and the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
Lyme disease, whose incidence is particularly high in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, was discovered for the first time in Portugal in 1989, and the first case was diagnosed in the region of Évora. Since then, about 35 new cases occur annually.