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The geographic patterns of transmission opportunities of vector-borne zoonoses are determined by a complex interplay between the migration patterns of the host and the vector. Here we examine the impact of host migration on the spread of a tick-borne zoonotic disease, using Lyme Borreliosis (LB) spirochaetal species in Europe. We demonstrate that the migration of the LB species is dependent on and limited by the migration of their respective hosts. We note that populations of Borrelia spp. associated with birds (Borrelia garinii and B. valaisiana) show limited geographic structuring between countries compared with those associated with small mammals (Borrelia afzelii), and we argue that this can be explained by higher rates of migration in avian hosts. We also show the presence of B. afzelii strains in England and, through the use of the multi-locus sequence analysis scheme, reveal that the strains are highly structured. This pattern in English sites is very different from that observed at the continental sites, and we propose that these may be recent introductions.

Original publication




Journal article


Environmental microbiology

Publication Date





184 - 192


Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK.State agency: Infectology Center of Latvia, Linezera street 3, Riga, LV-1006, Latvia.Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Hospital, London W2 1PG, UK.Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Zoology Building, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK.Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.


Animals, Birds, Mammals, Ixodes, Borrelia burgdorferi Group, Lyme Disease, DNA, Bacterial, Animal Migration, Phylogeny, Europe, England, Multilocus Sequence Typing, Phylogeography