Alumni News: Study identifies bird species that could spread Lyme disease

Contact: Dan Becker, danbeck@iu.edu

American robin (Turdus migratorius), a true thrush, flagged as likely to be a competent Lyme host. Credit: Fyn Kynd

A study led by alumnus Daniel Becker, PhD ’17, just published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, identifies bird species with the potential to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) to feeding ticks.

Becker and senior author Barbara Han, a former Odum postdoctoral associate, developed a model that identified birds known to spread Lyme disease with 80% accuracy and flagged 21 new species that should be prioritized for surveillance. Becker, now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University, and Han, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, are both members of the UGA Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases.

Read more: New study identifies bird species that could spread ticks and Lyme disease