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Humidity affects pathogen mix carried by ticks

The combination of pathogens carried by Ixodes ricinus ticks is influenced less by temperature than by humidity and competition among bacteria, researchers reported in PeerJ. The survey of ticks in the Swiss Alps found that Borrelia afzelii is more common in ticks living on humid, north-facing slopes; Rickettsia species are more prevalent in ticks living on drier, steeper slopes; and ticks infected with Spiroplasma bacteria carried fewer other pathogens, suggesting that Spiroplasma infection has a protective effect.

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