Publications by authors named "Andrea Swei"

33 Publications

Effects of an invasive forest pathogen on abundance of ticks and their vertebrate hosts in a California Lyme disease focus.

Oecologia 2011 May 13;166(1):91-100. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140, USA.

Invasive species, including pathogens, can have important effects on local ecosystems, including indirect consequences on native species. This study focuses on the effects of an invasive plant pathogen on a vertebrate community and Ixodes pacificus, the vector of the Lyme disease pathogen (Borrelia burgdorferi) in California. Phytophthora ramorum, the causative agent of sudden oak death, is a non-native pathogen killing trees in California and Oregon. We conducted a multi-year study using a gradient of SOD-caused disturbance to assess the impact on the dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), two reservoir hosts of B. burgdorferi, as well as the impact on the Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) and the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), both of which are important hosts for I. pacificus but are not pathogen reservoirs. Abundances of P. maniculatus and S. occidentalis were positively correlated with greater SOD disturbance, whereas N. fuscipes abundance was negatively correlated. We did not find a change in space use by O. hemionus. Our data show that SOD has a positive impact on the density of nymphal ticks, which is expected to increase the risk of human exposure to Lyme disease all else being equal. A positive correlation between SOD disturbance and the density of nymphal ticks was expected given increased abundances of two important hosts: deer mice and western fence lizards. However, further research is needed to integrate the direct effects of SOD on ticks, for example via altered abiotic conditions with host-mediated indirect effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-010-1796-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074061PMC
May 2011

Spatial dynamics of lyme disease: a review.

Ecohealth 2008 Jun 5;5(2):167-95. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY 12545-0129, USA.

Lyme disease (LD), the most frequently reported vector-borne disease in the United States, requires that humans, infected vector ticks, and infected hosts all occur in close spatial proximity. Understanding the spatial dynamics of LD requires an understanding of the spatial determinants of each of these organisms. We review the literature on spatial patterns and environmental correlates of human cases of LD and the vector ticks, Ixodes scapularis in the northeastern and midwestern United States and Ixodes pacificus in the western United States. The results of this review highlight a need for a more standardized and comprehensive approach to studying the spatial dynamics of the LD system. Specifically, we found that the only environmental variable consistently associated with increased LD risk and incidence was the presence of forests. However, the reasons why some forests are associated with higher risk and incidence than others are still poorly understood. We suspect that the discordance among studies is due, in part, to the rapid developments in both conceptual and technological aspects of spatial ecology hastening the obsolescence of earlier approaches. Significant progress in identifying the determinants of spatial variation in LD risk and incidence requires that: (1) existing knowledge of the biology of the individual components of each LD system is utilized in the development of spatial models; (2) spatial data are collected over longer periods of time; (3) data collection and analysis among regions are more standardized; and (4) the effect of the same environmental variables is tested at multiple spatial scales.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10393-008-0171-3DOI Listing
June 2008

Should we expect population thresholds for wildlife disease?

Trends Ecol Evol 2005 Sep 22;20(9):511-9. Epub 2005 Jul 22.

Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114, USA.

Host population thresholds for the invasion or persistence of infectious disease are core concepts of disease ecology and underlie disease control policies based on culling and vaccination. However, empirical evidence for these thresholds in wildlife populations has been sparse, although recent studies have begun to address this gap. Here, we review the theoretical bases and empirical evidence for disease thresholds in wildlife. We see that, by their nature, these thresholds are rarely abrupt and always difficult to measure, and important facets of wildlife ecology are neglected by current theories. Empirical studies seeking to identify disease thresholds in wildlife encounter recurring obstacles of small sample sizes and confounding factors. Disease control policies based solely on threshold targets are rarely warranted, but management to reduce abundance of susceptible hosts can be effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2005.07.004DOI Listing
September 2005
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