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Competence of urban rats as reservoir hosts for Lyme disease spirochetes.


To determine whether urban rats serve efficiently as reservoir hosts for the agent of
Lyme disease, we recorded the frequency of infection in nymphal Ixodes ricinus (L.) ticks that had fed as larvae on experimentally infected Norway rats, Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout), or on black rats, R. rattus (L.), and evaluated the nidicolous venue of transmission. Subadult vector ticks attached readily to Norway rats as well as black rats and virtually all became infected in the course of feeding. Larval ticks detached when these nocturnally active hosts were at rest. Rats appeared to be competent reservoir hosts of
Lyme disease spirochetes in a transmission cycle in urban sites.

J Med Entomol. 1997 Jul;34(4):489-93. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t [1]