Ticks acquire the microorganisms that cause
Lyme Disease when they feed on an infected animal
such as a mouse or deer. When infected ticks feed
they may transfer these organisms to the next host.
Some reports indicate that ticks must be attached
and feeding for at least 24 hours before
disease transmission is likely to occur which
is why prompt removal of ticks is so important.
Animal reservoirs of Lyme Disease
An animal reservoir is the species
in which a disease organism, in this case the Lyme
Disease bacterium, resides and serves as the source
of the pathogen. For example, rodents are the animal
reservoir for the Plague bacterium and fleas spread
the Plague between rodents and humans.
Increased incidence of Lyme Disease in
central and eastern states in the US may be
related to the increased abundance of white-tailed
deer, and ticks, and their proximity to housing
developments. Mice, and the ticks that live on them,
are also suspects in transmission of Lyme Disease.