Mapping the risk of tick-borne disease

This study presents an interaction network for ticks, hosts and the pathogens their carry

Data resources used via GBIF : 3.8 million species occurrences
Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease

Photomicrograph (400x) of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Using species distributions of pathogen vectors is becoming increasingly important for predicting human and livestock infection risks. With tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease and viral meningoencephalitis, the equation is expanded from vector and pathogen to include tick hosts. Based on extensive literature searchers and GBIF-mediated occurrences, the authors of this data paper build a network of interactions between ticks, hosts and pathogens. They use remotely-sensed environmental data to calculate the niches of ticks and their hosts. Finally, they combine the interaction network with the niche models to create a novel framework for evaluating niche overlaps and predicting occurrences of tick-transmitted pathogens. The resulting datasets were deposited with Dryad for use in future research and risk assessments. The authors note that their framework can be used to capture the impact of particular species and host-tick pairs in the circulation of pathogens.


Estrada-Peña A and de la Fuente J (2016) Species interactions in occurrence data for a community of tick-transmitted pathogens. Scientific Data. Springer Nature 3: 160056. Available at doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.56.