Lyme disease – Risk of Lyme Disease Expands

Lyme disease—Risk of Lyme Disease Expands

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the U.S. with 30,000 cases reported annually. Lyme disease is the most frequently reported disease that can be passed from animals to humans.


Worldwide, Lyme disease affects the lives of millions of people. But there is very little public discussion about the environmental conditions that encourage the spread of Lyme disease.


New Lyme Disease Book


A new book, Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System, presents an assessment of Lyme disease as well as the factors that contribute to its expanding range. The author is Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, Senior Scientist and Animal Ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. (Read about Under Our Skin – Lyme Disease Film)


Speaking about the research on Lyme Disease done at Cary Institute, Dr. Ostfeld notes: "Some spots within the Northeast are much riskier than others and we’ve developed specific hypotheses to explain why.”


Ostfeld has studied the ecology of tick-borne diseases for more than twenty years and argues that an overly simplistic view of Lyme disease ecology and risk has caused us to focus on the wrong culprit—deer.


Revealing What Spreads Lyme Disease


Instead, Outfield’s long-term research shows that white-footed mice are the critical hosts for black-legged ticks, which carry and spread the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. White-footed mice thrive in the small woodlots found throughout cities and suburbs. Very high mouse populations allow more ticks to survive and lead to predictable spikes in human Lyme disease exposure. (comment on this post below)


Risk of Lyme Disease


Ostfeld identifies risk factors and recommends steps that can prevent Lyme disease from continuing to expand and increase in intensity. Furthermore, he turns our attention to land-use planning and the ways in which biodiversity loss increases disease risk.


Outfield’s book on Lyme disease looks at:

  • The importance of looking at human infectious disease as an ecological system
  • Why intact forests with a diversity of vertebrates (opossum, squirrel, fox, etc.) are vital to human and ecological health
  • Why Lyme disease is an excellent model system for understanding other infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, such as SARS and West Nile virus
  • Links between landscape management and human health


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The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is a private, not-for-profit environmental research and education organization in Millbrook, N.Y. For more than twenty-five years, Cary Institute scientists have been investigating the complex interactions that govern the natural world. Their objective findings lead to more effective policy decisions and increased environmental literacy. Focal areas include air and water pollution, climate change, invasive species, and the ecological dimensions of infectious disease.


One thought on “Lyme disease – Risk of Lyme Disease Expands

  1. Jodie Donnelly

    A good article and source of information about Lyme disease, what a shame though, that it still doesn’t acknowledge the main and most dangerous culprit for Lyme being in all of our backyards now.
    The reservoir, that is the main carrier and most efficient and far reaching disseminator of Lyme disease and co-infections around the world, BIRDS.
    It is great that it attempts to dispel the illogical myth that deer are responsible for the spread of this rampant worldwide, insidious disease, but just as Yale have been attempting to demonstrate for years, migrating birds are the reason that Lyme disease has circumnavigated and now taken over the world and then our local ground foraging birds are picking it up and perpetuating the spread, locally, bringing it into our backyards where our children play and into our homes through nesting’s.
    As they leave behind, between blood meals, not only their hard ticks, in our grass, through our trees and on our pets, but also the arthropods that favour their nests, such as their soft ticks, lice, mites and fleas, all vectors of Borrelia and many co-infections, until the birdies abandon or die in their nest’s and then this multitude of arthropods seek new hosts and find us and our children to feed on, leading to an array of ongoing illnesses and degenerative diseases, most referred to as being on the rise and having an unknown cause and many referred to as having no known cure, throughout most, if not all of the family, whilst keeping the specialists rich and happy.
    It will be common knowledge one day but I struggle to understand why this link is being largely ignored and kept under wraps and why more people, including sufferers, who have been infected this way, are not realising the obviousness of the link between BIRDS and BORRELIA , allowing themselves and their families to continue being misdiagnosed with multiple conditions, referred to as unexplained and on the rise, while still believing the whole unknown cause or core of their illnesses facade, because they haven’t seen a deer close by ,or don’t remember seeing or being bitten by a blood engorged tick.
    People are slowly coming to realisation that Lyme is far from hard to catch and far from easy to treat, but until those responsible, IN EVERY COUNTRY, for our health and well being, do the right thing and warn people about certain ground foraging birds being infested reservoirs and carriers of several known vectors of Lyme disease, most people will still not realise or think they are at risk, unless they venture out into the bush or sight a deer. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
    They still let their children climb trees and run barefoot in un kept grass and their back yards, believing it is healthy for them and it is just a sad fact of life now that each time they do this, their children are at high risk of becoming infected with Borrelia and co-infections, more than often, not because of deer or mice, but because there is a guarantee that birds would have been there often, highly likely leaving some sort of vector behind.
    If they were told of this very real link and educated on the true clear and present danger, they would be more encouraged to keep their lawns and trees well and truly pruned, realising it is not just for aesthetic purposes, but essential to protect their family from disease, they would stop encouraging birds onto their properties and they could take steps to avoid nesting’s throughout their homes.
    They would also relate the symptoms that follow these nesting’s, usually around 4 to 14 days after experiencing these uninvited visitors off the birds biting, itching and crawling on them and they would know the truth, which is, that just because they haven’t been camping in the woods or seen deer outside their window, that they are still at risk of getting bitten and being vectored with Borrelia and many co-infections, especially during an episode with birds as described above.
    The below link sums it up well and if you do a search on Birds, Ticks and Lyme disease, you will find many others, many by Yale.

    Please folks don’t let this part of the cover up about Vector-Borne diseases such as Lyme, lead to more controversy over this dangerous and deadly disease, causing the release of this life saving information to be withheld for even more decades. Our children deserve to live their childhood well, without infections that are avoidable and that steal their youth and quality of life. It is our duty and their right.

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