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Although a wide range of interventions are available for use in reducing the public health burden of
Lyme disease, additional tools are needed. Vaccinating mouse reservoirs may reduce the prevalence of spirochetal infection due to the powerful vector and reservoir competence-modulating effects of anti-outer surface protein A (OspA) antibody. A delivery system for an oral immunogen would be required for field trials of any candidate vaccine. Accordingly, we tested candidate bait preparations that were designed to be environmentally stable, attractive to mice, and non-nutritive. In addition, we determined whether delivery of such baits within nest boxes could effectively target white-footed mice. A peanut butter-scented bait was preferred by mice over a blueberry-scented one. At a deployment rate of 12.5 nest boxes per hectare, more than half of resident mice ingested a rhodamine-containing bait, as demonstrated by fluorescent staining of their vibrissae. We conclude that a peanut butter-scented hardened bait placed within simple wood nest boxes would effectively deliver vaccine to white-footed mice, thereby providing baseline information critical for designing field trials of a candidate oral vaccine.
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