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Ticks are not crawling needles, merely delivering infectious agents to vertebrate hosts. A sophisticated interplay takes place between ticks, pathogens, and vertebrate hosts. The relationship between Ixodes ticks and the
Lyme disease spirochetes they transmit involves subtle changes in spirochete populations that maximize their chances of being transmitted. An understanding of this complex interplay will, hopefully, allow the development of new tools to block transmission of tick-borne agents.