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Heller publishes research in scientific journal

Erin Heller

Erin Heller

Research conducted by Randolph biology professor Erin Heller was recently published in the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases.

The article, “Passerine birds as hosts for Ixodes ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto in southeastern Virginia,” details the work Heller and a group of other researchers completed while surveying nearly 1,800 passerine, or perching, birds from 2012 to 2014.

During that time, they tested 255 ticks removed from birds for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria that causes Lyme disease. While a relatively small percentage of birds were parasitized by Borrelia-infected ticks, the large number of passerine birds that live in and migrate through southeastern Virginia suggests birds may play a role in the dispersal of this bacteria.

The full text can be found at

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