Patterns, Drivers, and Challenges of Vector-Borne Disease Emergence
Vector-borne diseases are emerging at an increasing rate and comprise a disproportionate share of all emerging infectious diseases. Yet, the key ecological and evolutionary dimensions of vector-borne disease that facilitate their emergence have not been thoroughly explored. This study reviews and synthesizes the existing literature to explore global patterns of emerging vector-borne zoonotic diseases (VBZDs) under changing global conditions. We find that the vast majority of emerging VBZDs are transmitted by ticks (Ixodidae) and mosquitoes (Culicidae) and the pathogens transmitted are dominated by Rickettsiaceae bacteria and RNA viruses (Flaviviridae, Bunyaviridae, and Togaviridae). The most common potential driver of these emerging zoonoses is land use change, but for many diseases, the driver is unknown, revealing a critical research gap. While most reported VBZDs are emerging in the northern latitudes, after correcting for sampling bias, Africa is clearly a region with the greatest share of emerging VBZD. We highlight critical gaps in our understanding of VBZD emergence and emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary research and consideration of deeper evolutionary processes to improve our capacity for anticipating where and how such diseases have and will continue to emerge.
Regarding ticks, it’s birds that are doing the damage: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/08/17/of-birds-and-ticks/
But birds facilitate the spread of ticks, picking them up in Maryland, Connecticut and other eastern states as they fly north in the spring, Lubelczyk explained.
“As they’re migrating, they’re either dropping the ticks off as they fly or when they land. They’re kind of seeding them along migration patterns.
Birds play a central role in the ecology of tick-borne pathogens. They expand tick populations and pathogens across vast distances and serve as reservoirs that maintain and amplify transmission locally.