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The most important tick-deer system potentially supporting the epidemiology of
Lyme disease in the Italian Alps is that regarding Ixodes ricinus (L.) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.). In this study, the pattern of tick infestation on 562 male roe deer harvested in September 1994 in 56 game districts of Trentino, Northern Italy, was assessed. The prevalence and density of infestation by I. ricinus were analyzed by a model based on classification and regression trees (CART), using both discrete and continuous variables concerning environmental and host parameters. The model discriminated attitude and host density as the 2 variables having the greatest effect on the prevalence and density of infestation of deer; the levels of infestation were higher at an altitude below 1125 m or at roe deer densities over 8.5 head per 100 ha. The density of tick infestation tended to be higher in older roe deer.