It has been three decades since the agent of Lyme disease, the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, and the ticks that vector it were identified.
However, the number of Lyme disease cases has steadily increased.
Is warmer weather to blame for more ticks, and more Lyme disease?
Is the number of deer or mice the problem?
Or is it something else?
More on Lyme: Spring Surge in Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is now the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the United States, with the majority of cases occurring in the Northeast.
In a new research paper called “What Do We Need to Know About Disease Ecology to Prevent Lyme Disease in the Northeastern United States?” authors from Colorado State University and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) assess the potential reasons for the continued lack of success in prevention and control of Lyme disease in the northeastern United States, and they identify areas where additional knowledge could be used to improve Lyme disease prevention and control strategies.
The research paper appears in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
Topics explored include: 1) identifying critical host infestation rates required to maintain enzootic transmission of B. burgdorferi, 2) understanding how habitat diversity and forest fragmentation impacts risk of exposure to B. burgdorferi and the ability of interventions to reduce risk, 3) quantifying the epidemiological outcomes of interventions focusing on ticks or vertebrate reservoirs, and 4) refining knowledge of how human behavior influences Lyme disease risk and identifying barriers to the adoption of personal protective measures and environmental tick management.
The article briefly summarizes existing prevention and control strategies and tools aimed at reducing human exposure to vector ticks and B. burgdorferi.
Read Dr. Galland’s Lyme Disease –Why Lyme is the Mystery Disease
Because the likelihood of human exposure to the tick and the pathogen both can be influenced by human behavior, the authors focus not only on the density of infected ticks, which represents the fundamental (or acarological) risk of human exposure to B. burgdorferi, but they also provide an overview of studies that identify behavioral risk factors and explore areas where additional information in this field are needed.
Check out a book on Lyme Disease: Cure Unknown
Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 49, Number 1, January 2012 , pp. 11-22(12) “What Do We Need to Know About Disease Ecology to Prevent Lyme Disease in the Northeastern United States?” Eisen, Rebecca J.; Piesman, Joseph; Zielinski-Gutierrez, Emily; Eisen, Lars