Data from: Invasion of two tick-borne diseases across New England: harnessing human surveillance data to capture underlying ecological invasion processes
Walter, Katharine S. et al. (2016), Data from: Invasion of two tick-borne diseases across New England: harnessing human surveillance data to capture underlying ecological invasion processes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fs348
Modelling the spatial spread of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens maintained in enzootic transmission cycles remains a major challenge. The best available spatio-temporal data on pathogen spread often take the form of human disease surveillance data. By applying a classic ecological approach—occupancy modelling—to an epidemiological question of disease spread, we used surveillance data to examine the latent ecological invasion of tick-borne pathogens. Over the last half-century, previously undescribed tick-borne pathogens including the agents of Lyme disease and human babesiosis have rapidly spread across the northeast United States. Despite their epidemiological importance, the mechanisms of tick-borne pathogen invasion and drivers underlying the distinct invasion trajectories of the co-vectored pathogens remain unresolved. Our approach allowed us to estimate the unobserved ecological processes underlying pathogen spread while accounting for imperfect detection of human cases. Our model predicts that tick-borne diseases spread in a diffusion-like manner with occasional long-distance dispersal and that babesiosis spread exhibits strong dependence on Lyme disease.