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Large Animal Loss Increases Tick Risk.

Around the world, ticks are one of the most-important vectors of zoonotic diseases--animal diseases communicable to humans--and they are everywhere.

While North Americans worry about Lyme disease carried by blacklegged or deer ticks, on the other side of the globe people contend with a different variety of tick-borne fevers. A study by University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers and colleagues suggests that the abundance of ticks that carry certain fevers are likely to rise in the future, thanks to a combination of wildlife loss and climate change.

The study used a large-scale experimental test to demonstrate synergistic effects of those phenomena on ticks and their pathogens. The investigators found that total tick population and abundance of infected ticks increased dramatically when large animals were lost. This effect was exacerbated in dryer, low-productivity areas.

"Our research suggests that large mammal conservation may prevent increases in tick numbers and tick-borne disease risk," says lead author Georgia Titcomb, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. "These results are timely and relevant in light of widespread wildlife declines and unpredictable regional climatic shifts in a steadily warming world."

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Title Annotation:ZOONOTIC DISEASES
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2018
Words:189
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