In the blacklegged tick/Lyme disease ecological web, small rodents like mice and chipmunks, in particular, are key reservoir hosts. Immature stage ticks blood feeding on infected rodents can become infected, and later pass that infection when they blood feed again. Adult stage blacklegged ticks are unsuccessful in blood feeding on small rodents; in fact, a very small proportion of the population successfully blood-feeds on medium-sized mammals, either.
While rodent-derived blood meals provide nourishment for immature tick stages to develop, those animals contribute little to the ultimate reproduction process in blacklegged ticks, which is growth of the egg stage. In contrast, adult stage blacklegged ticks commonly blood feed on deer, becoming engorged and obtaining all of the protein necessary for laying their clutch of 1,500-2,000 eggs. For various reasons, few other animals are as efficient in providing the population of adult blacklegged ticks with this all important blood meal, so we label deer as reproductive hosts in the blacklegged tick/Lyme disease system. – TickEncounter Resource Center
Lyme Disease: What you need to know, CDC, June 2017
humans, and if previously infected with Lyme disease bacteria, they can transmit the disease to humans. Nymphs molt into
adult ticks in the fall. In the fall and early spring, adult ticks feed and mate on large animals, such as deer. Adult female ticks will
sometimes also feed on humans. In spring, adult female ticks lay their eggs on the ground, completing the 2-year life cycle.
Ticks in Nantucket, Dr. Timothy Lemore
Between 2007 and 2011, there were 25 confirmed cases of lyme disease in Washtenaw County. According to TickCheck’s data, lyme disease prevalence is growing in Washtenaw County
Due to the fact that the CDC’s data only represents confirmed cases, the actual quantity of lyme disease cases may be far greater. TickCheck estimates a total of 360 true cases of lyme disease in Washtenaw County.
Lyme disease now officially a known risk in Washtenaw County, MLive, April 13, 2017
Until last summer, all local cases were considered likely to be related to travel to western Michigan or other states where infested tick populations are present, according to Washtenaw County Public Health.
But then last summer a resident in a rural area in the western part of the county contracted Lyme disease, apparently without leaving the county, public health officials reported. Now, they’re reporting there were 17 total cases of Lyme disease in Washtenaw County residents in 2016, and four were likely exposed within the county, according to the county.
Lyme Disease, Michigan Emerging Disease Issues, Aug 2016
In Michigan, the first official reported human case of Lyme disease was in 1985. Cases have now been reported in both the upper and lower peninsula and are increasing. It is anticipated that the number of cases reported will continue to increase due to public and medical personnel education, and expanding tick ranges.
Dangerous unproven treatments for ‘chronic Lyme disease’ are on the rise, Washington Post, June 15, 2017
Why parents are sending their kids to school with bug spray, New York Post, May 20, 2017
Alec Baldwin Thought He’d ‘Die of Lyme Disease’ — What to Know About the Tick-Borne Illness, Boston Herald, May 23, 2017
“The first time was the worst of all,” Baldwin said, describing “black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed.” He remembered thinking at the time, “I’m not going to live,” and “I’m going to die of Lyme disease.”
Lyme Disease on Rise Amid Diagnosis, Treatment Controversy, USNews, May 20, 2017
Doctors there told Wichner she had a urinary tract infection, but she said she didn’t have any common symptoms associated with one. As Wichner got sicker, other doctors told her she was stressed or had PMS.
May has been designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Smith said Lyme awareness is increasing because cases are increasing and advocates and the Lyme community have demanded more information and attention from government agencies. Some have responded, but that wasn’t always the case, said Smith, a Bucks County native who lives in Monmouth County, New Jersey. “(Government agencies) could have prevented, I believe, many, many of the cases if they had spoken out over the first 20, 25 years,” she said.
Experts caution public leading up to peak season for Lyme disease, GazetteExtra, May 10, 2017
Prevent Lyme Disease, CDC Features, updated May 1, 2017
Keeping Up With Ticks, US News, April 26, 2017
Lyme disease a threat no matter the deer tick forecast, Wisconsin State Farmer, April 25, 2017
The rate of infectivity, or percentage of ticks carrying a disease, is worryingly high. Approximately 20 percent of juvenile deer ticks and 40 percent of adult deer ticks in Wisconsin are carrying the microorganisms responsible for Lyme disease — multiple bacteria species in the Borrelia genus. In some parts of state, the rate of infectivity has been documented at closer to 60 percent.
Pets that have wood ticks attached for extended periods of time may suffer from tick paralysis, a serious reaction to components of the parasite’s saliva.
Kelly Osbourne: I almost died from Lyme disease, Fox News, April 25, 2017
Tick and Lyme Disease Season Is Here: Worse Than Ever, WSJ, April 24, 2017
Lyme disease researchers seek consensus as number of cases grows, UC Santa Cruz NewsCenter, April, 24, 2017
Baby, First Connecticut Victim Of Rare Tick-Borne Virus, Recovering, Hartford Courant, April 22, 2017
Tick season has begun. How much do you know about Lyme disease?, PRI, April 22, 2017
“About 90 percent of ticks that feed on a white-footed mouse will pick up the infection. But deer really don’t transmit the Lyme bacterium at all.” [but they do transmit the ticks]
Walker reveals he has Lyme disease, PGATour, April 19, 2017
Controlling The Lyme Disease Epidemic, Science Friday, April 7, 2017- audio
Why finding a solution to control Lyme disease isn’t simple, PBS Video, April 5, 2015
Health Buzz: Long-Term Antibiotics May Not Benefit Chronic Lyme Disease, US News, March 31, 2017
Lyme Disease Cases Are Rising In The Midwest, Huffington Post, March 16, 2017
Ticks are not born carrying Lyme, but instead contract the disease as larvae by feeding on infected animals, such as deer, robins or mice, study co-author Jean Tsao, an associate professor of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University, told Live Science in an email. The ticks retain the bacteria into adulthood, and once a tick becomes infected, it can pass the bacteria along to the next animal it bites.
Lyme Disease Warning, AARP, March 7, 2017
Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast, NPR, March 6, 2017
Tick-borne Lyme disease exploding into Michigan; human cases up 5-fold, The Free Press, Feb 23, 2017
[Saline resident, who had not traveled outside the county,] Feldkamp said she never got her primary care doctor, neurologist, or oncologist to take Lyme disease seriously. “And once I started being vocal about it on Facebook, I started hearing from all these other people suffering from Lyme disease who’ve had a similar experience with their doctors,” she said.
Geographic Expansion of Lyme Disease in Michigan, 2000–2014, Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Feb 2017
Weekly Disease Report For The Week Ending March 4, 2017, Michigan Disease Surveillance System
Lyme-disease carrying ticks on the rise in Mid-Michigan, vets say, MLive, Sept 4 2016
Person who contracted Lyme disease lives in western Washtenaw County, MLive, Aug 1, 2016
New evidence suggests Lyme disease present in Washtenaw County, MLive, July 29, 2016
Why finding a solution to control Lyme disease isn’t simple, PBS, 4/5/2017
Suburbia offers the perfect habitat for deer to flourish, no human hunters or animal predators and a bounty of food.
Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast, NPR, March 6, 2017
Reducing deer to less than 10/square mile limits Lyme disease, George’s Outdoor News, March 3, 2017
A technology backed by Bill Gates may revolutionize diagnostics for Lyme disease, CNBC News, Feb 7, 2017
FDA Gives Green Light to Test Lyme Disease Vaccine on HumansThe Vaccine Reaction, Jan 26, 2017
Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), 2017 Case Definition, CDC, 2016
Musculoskeletal system. Recurrent, brief attacks (weeks or months) of objective joint swelling in one or a few joints, sometimes followed by chronic arthritis in one or a few joints. Manifestations not considered as criteria for diagnosis include chronic progressive arthritis not preceded by brief attacks and chronic symmetrical polyarthritis. Additionally, arthralgia, myalgia, or fibromyalgia syndromes alone are not criteria for musculoskeletal involvement.
Nervous system . Any of the following signs that cannot be explained by any other etiology, alone or in combination: lymphocytic meningitis; cranial neuritis, particularly facial palsy (may be bilateral); radiculoneuropathy; or, rarely, encephalomyelitis. Headache, fatigue, paresthesia, or mildly stiff neck alone, are not criteria for neurologic involvement.
Cardiovascular system . Acute onset of high-grade (2nd-degree or 3rd-degree) atrioventricular conduction defects that resolve in days to weeks and are sometimes associated with myocarditis. Palpitations, bradycardia, bundle branch block, or myocarditis alone are not criteria for cardiovascular involvement.
Warming Climate May Limit Lyme Disease’s Spread in Parts of the U.S., Inside Climate News, Jan 19, 2017
Deer and Lyme Disease Are Intertwined, The Vineyard Gazette, Jan 12, 2017
Study Finds Lyme Disease in Ticks in Nine U.S. National Parks, Entomology Today, Jan 4, 2017
Detection of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis pathogens via PCR in Pennsylvania deer ked, Journal of Vector Ecology, Nov 17, 2016
Despite drought, Lyme disease cases came roaring back this fall, Portland Press Herald, Dec 12, 2016
Vaccine inventor raises alarm on Lyme disease, Philly.com, Sept 12, 2016
CDC Says Fewer Suffer After Lyme Disease. Doesn’t Say, If Treated Early, Huffington Post, Sept 8, 2016
Something to Grapple with: How Wily Lyme Disease Prowls the Body, Scientific American, Aug 25, 2016
The initial infection is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected black-legged tick (aka deer tick), which usually leaves behind a characteristic bull’s-eye rash. Symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue. It can be treated with antibiotics if it is caught early on. But in about 20 percent of the cases severe symptoms such as joint pain and cognitive problems last even after treatment—a condition physicians call posttreatment Lyme disease. Other more chronic symptoms can be similar to those of different illnesses such as arthritis or peripheral neuropathy, and scientists disagree about whether or not they should be labeled Lyme disease.
The researchers watched through a microscope as bacteria, tagged with green fluorescent protein, moved across the cells in real time. The researchers discovered that B. burgdorferi relied on a protein called BBK32—which had previously been implicated in studies in mice—to tether themselves to the endothelial cells. BBK32 acted like an exceptionally strong bungee cord, helping the bacteria accelerate through the vessels or decelerate when they needed to get out of the bloodstream and into surrounding tissue.
Study cites Powassan link to long-term Lyme symptoms, CapeCod Times, Aug 14, 2016
An unpublished study in 2010 showed the Powassan virus was detected in more than 15 percent of Lyme disease patients. “It is a virus that interferes with the normal immune functioning,” Knox said. “It may make Lyme disease infections worse or the symptoms last longer.”
I Was Diagnosed With Lyme Disease — And Then It Wouldn’t Go Away, Good Housekeeping, July 29, 2016
When Brandi finished the medication, though, the symptoms roared back — which was why she had returned to see her primary care doctor that day in 2011. “He went through my records and said, ‘I don’t think you have Lyme, because Lyme symptoms are more flu-like,’ ” she says. “He gave me Ativan for my dizziness and Zoloft for anxiety and sent me on my way.”
A second opinion confirmed that she had a persistent Lyme infection — what’s now known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). That doctor prescribed a month of IV antibiotics — which Brandi gave herself twice a day through a catheter in her arm — as well as plenty of rest and a healthy diet. “At that point I would have done just about anything to feel better,” she says. It took four years, but eventually she did.
Taking The Battle Against Lyme Disease Ticks To The Backyard, NPR, July 20, 2016
Visiting physician sheds new light on Lyme disease, MV Times, July 13, 2016
Is a Cure For Lyme Disease On the Horizon?, Town and Country, July 8, 2016
“It’s a very complicated and confusing disease,” says artist Ally Hilfiger, daughter of designer Tommy Hilfiger. “A lot of people get bitten by a tick, get a positive test result, go on antibiotics, and—bam— are better in 30 days. For those who don’t, it’s completely crippling and it steals your life.” At age 18, Hilfiger crash-landed at Silver Hill, in the middle of a mental breakdown, and soon was diagnosed with Lyme. At seven she was bitten by a tick, and then 11 years of clinical limbo, because of repeated false negative test results, clouded what should have been an idyllic childhood in Greenwich, with pain, fatigue, and illness.
On the human level, the situation calls for both common sense and desperate measures. More and more communities are culling their deer populations; on Monhegan Island, Maine, this approach virtually eradicated the disease.
12 Worst States For Lyme Disease, 247WallSt, July 2, 2016
The incidence of Lyme disease is on the rise in the United States. Hoffmann noted that due largely to climate change, the geographic regions suitable to ticks are getting larger. While the factors involved are very complex, Hoffmann added this will likely continue in future decades. The diagnosis has rate has gone up by 8% across the U.S. in the last 10 years.
Climate change is speeding up the spread of Lyme disease, STAT, July 1, 2016
New species of bacteria found to cause Lyme disease, Science News, June 23, 2016
LYME DISEASE TRENDS IN WISCONSIN, EPHT Surveillance Brief, June 2016
Fighting Lyme Disease in the Genes of Nantucket’s Mice, New York Times, June 7, 2016
Romeo woman battling Lyme disease has warning for others, Fox 2, April 20, 2016
Experts say the blacklegged tick which carries Lyme disease, is mostly found in the west side of the state. But as the deer population explodes, so too, does the tick.
A Report from the Integrated Tick Management Symposium in Washington, DC, Entomology Today, May 20, 2016
Expert Warns of New Tick-borne Disease, UConn Today, May 11, 2016
Ticks, Mice and Microbes—Studying Disease Spread, Biomedical Beat, May 4, 2016
Deer ticks already out in force in Maine, Portland Press Herald, April 11, 2016
On Ticks, Taxonomy and Lyme Disease, CW Dick Lab, April 1, 2016
More Deer Equals More Lyme Disease, Vineyard Gazette, March 31, 2016
Controversial New Push to Tie Microbes to Alzheimer’s Disease, Scientific American, March 21, 2016
Lyme: The Infectious Disease Equivalent of Cancer, Says Top Duke Oncologist, Huffington Post, Feb 19, 2016
Number of black-legged ticks increasing in Connecticut, New Haven Register, Feb 23, 2016
In New Haven County, 34 percent of ticks collected by the AG station tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria; 11.4 percent for babesia microti; and 5 percent for Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In Litchfield County, the rates were 39 percent, 9.9 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, while in Middlesex County, the rates were 31.5 percent, 8.9 percent and 1.3 percent for the three pathogens.
A New Culprit in Lyme Disease, New York Times, Feb 15, 2016
Lyme disease just got nastier, CBS News, Feb 9, 2016
Tick Genome Provides Resource for Understanding Bloodsucker’s Biology, Disease Transmission, GenomeWeb, Feb 9, 2016
The blood-sucking pests can also pass on other pathogens and parasites as they ingest host blood and regurgitate saliva into host skin wounds. For example, deer ticks are believed to vectors for bacteria that cause human granulocytic anaplasmosis or tick-borne relapsing fever; the parasite behind babesiosis; and the Powassan virus, which can produce fevers, flu-like symptoms, and, in some cases, encephalitis.
County helps towns tackle deer problem, Local SYR.com, Feb 10, 2016
Tick genome reveals inner workings of a versatile blood-guzzler, Purdue University Agricultural News, Feb 9, 2016
There’s A New Species Of Bacteria That Can Cause Lyme Disease: CDC, Medical Daily, Feb 8, 2016
An Uptick of Lyme Disease in Southern New England, EcoRI, Jan 18, 2016
Lyme disease–carrying ticks are now in half of all U.S. counties, Science, Jan 18, 2016
Ticks that carry Lyme disease live in almost half of US counties – study, The Guardian, Jan 18, 2016
Lyme Disease Incidence, Ohio 1986–2015, Ohio Department of Health,
Data as of 10/06/2015
Ticks, Lyme disease fears leap in Michigan, Detroit News, Aug 16, 2015
A brief update on Lyme disease in Michigan and what does the future hold?, Michigan State University, 2015
The Truth About Chronic Lyme Disease, Yahoo Health, Aug 14, 2015,
Tick-Borne Diseases, Emedicine, Aug 8, 2015
- It is possible that more than one pathogen may pass to a human from one tick bite (for example, Lyme disease and babesiosis).
Geographic Distribution and Expansion of Human Lyme Disease, United States, Emerging Infectious Diseases, August 2015
Lyme Disease Is Spreading, Government Research Finds, NBC News, July 15, 2015
Lyme disease cases in Michigan increasing, WoodTV.com Grand Rapids, July 17, 2015
Lyme disease growing in Michigan, other Midwest states, study shows, Mlive, July 17, 2015
Lyme disease is most common in wooded suburban and far suburban counties. Scientists aren’t sure why high-risk areas are expanding, but it likely has something to do with development and other changes that cause the deer and ticks that carry the bacteria to move, Kugeler said.
It’s Lyme Disease Season: What To Know About Contracting, Diagnosing And Treating The Disease, The Diane Rehm Show, July 8,2015
AUCOTT: Well, I would add also the San Francisco Bay area as well on the West coast and it’s because those were the residual pockets of ticks that persisted after the demise of, you know, deer almost became extinct and the habitat for ticks was lost in the 1900s and they recurred then as the deer populations expanded from these foci, one around Lyme, Connecticut, one up in Minnesota and one up in the upper northwest of California.
Expert: Deer fueling spread of Lyme diseaseMetroWest Daily News, May 18, 2015
Hunting is essential to managing the deer population, but the practice is still curtailed in many eastern Massachusetts communities, making it unlikely the Lyme epidemic will subside in the near future, Telford said.
“It’s probably too late for us, but boy wouldn’t it be nice if our grandchildren didn’t have to worry about this,” he said.
Center for Disease Control, May 1, 2015
From a doctor who helped discover Lyme disease, a broad update, Washington Post, April 6, 2016
Lyme disease surged 320%, high-risk areas expanding – CDC reportQuestion More, July 17, 2015
The Relationship Between Deer Density, Tick Abundance, and Human Cases of Lyme Disease in a Residential Community, Journal of Medical Entomology, July 2014
Reducing deer density by 87 percent — to 5.1 deer per square kilometer (four-tenths of a square mile) — resulted in a 76 percent reduction in the tick population, according to the study, published recently in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
Lyme disease, tick population spread, Traverse City Record Eagle, June 2, 2015
May is Lyme disease awareness month, Michigan Journal, May 18, 2015
Lyme disease concern in West Michigan, Fox17online.com, April 27, 2015
Approximate Distribution of the Blacklegged Tick, CDC, 2010?
Reported cases of Lyme disease by state or locality, 2004-2013†, CDC Report, March 19, 2015
Lyme Disease Distribution in Michigan
Click on map to right to see spread of Lyme Disease in Michigan over the last 5+ years
House Resolution No. 352 declaring May 2014 as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in the state of Michigan passed.
Lyme disease in Mich: “Robs you of life as you know it”, WZZM, June 6, 2014
Douglas Flamboe of Holland told WZZM 13 he often tells people he wishes he had cancer, “because then the government and insurance companies will let the doctor do whatever and anything needed to cure it. With Lyme, you’re just stuck. Each year it gets worse and you can do less, until for many in this country, it takes your life.” Flamboe says the disease has “destroyed” his life at age 52. He was bit by a tick while camping at Holland State Park in 2010.
Sufferers endure headaches, muscle pain, vertigo and other symptoms that spring from a degenerating central nervous system.
**UPDATED** Ticks and Your Health Brochure, MI Dept of Agriculture, et al.
Fact Sheet, Michigan Lyme Disease Association, 2014
Fact Sheet: Lyme Disease, Washtenaw County Public Health, 2014
Lyme Disease, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Washtenaw County Public Health reminds residents to check for ticks when traveling, MLive, June 2, 2014
Untracked ticks, Lyme disease big risk in Ohio, Columbus Dispatch, Sept 1, 2013
Lyme Disease, Michigan Zoonotic & Vector-Borne Disease, Surveillance Summary, June 2013
Lyme Disease and White-tailed Deer, Michigan, Emerging Disease Issues
Lyme disease cases are on the rise, Columbus Dispatch, Sept 4, 2015
Vermont soars to top in Lyme infections, The Commons Online, July 29, 2015
Scientists and health professionals tell us today that the entire New England region supports a potent combination of weather and humidity, mice and other small rodent populations, dense thickets of invasive barberry and, most importantly, overabundant deer populations to serve as the blood meal for the nymphs of deer ticks to emerge as egg-laying adults.
What It’s Like to Have Severe Lyme Disease, NY Magazine, June 15, 2015
Researchers’ discovery may explain difficulty in treating Lyme disease, Medical Press, June 1, 2015
Deer Ticks Confirmed in North Dakota Carry Lyme Disease and Important Implications for ‘Non-Lyme’ States, Invisibly Lyme Montana, March 26, 2015
Blacklegged ticks, Lyme disease risk feared on the rise in Ohio this year, Cleveland.com, March 24, 2015
Health care providers should check for the telltale symptom of an expanding rash. Left untreated, people who contract Lyme disease can also develop fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and Bell’s palsy.
Don’t Freak Out About Ticks, New York State, Dept of Health, video and information
Once a tick gets on the skin, it generally climbs upward until it reaches a protected area.
In tick-infested areas, your best protection is to avoid contact with soil, leaf litter and vegetation.
Tick-borne diseases — menace in our midst, Suffolk Times, April 26, 2015
For those belonging to high-risk groups (e.g., the very young, elderly and immune-compromised individuals), threats of infection and death are significantly increased. The prevalence of asymptomatic cases of babesiosis is also problematic. Since there is no approved screening test for this disease in blood donors or donated blood products, seemingly healthy individuals can pass life-threatening infections to recipients via donated blood. According to a study published in 2011 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, at least 159 cases of babesiosis resulted from transfusions with infected blood or blood components between 1979 and 2009 (with the most occurring between 2000 and 2009). Many of these cases involved premature infants or elderly surgical patients already struggling with other health issues.
Lyme Disease Is Wracking New England. Why Isn’t More Being Done?, Huffington Post, April 19, 2015
Yet no state funds are dedicated to tick-borne diseases, one of which, Lyme, infects at least 5,500 residents a year in Massachusetts and likely many more.
Ticks and Lyme have spread across Massachusetts in the past 40 years to become one of the region’s most commonly reported infectious diseases, yet the state’s public health priorities have not kept pace. Two years ago, a special state Lyme commission suggested a modest investment of less than $300,000 for a public education program, yet no money has been set aside, and the commission’s other specific recommendations –- from promoting more awareness in the medical community to better disease surveillance –- have not been adopted.
Lyme Disease, CDC, last reviewed March 4, 2015
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Facial or Bell’s palsy (loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face)
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness due to meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord)
- Pain and swelling in the large joints (such as knees)
- Shooting pains that may interfere with sleep
- Heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
Basic Information about Lyme Disease, ILADS
Avril Lavigne on Her Struggle With Lyme Disease, NBCNews.com, April 1, 2015
- Lyme disease: are deer to blame?, QuadCommunityPress, Jan 29, 2015
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, over 900 Lyme disease cases were reported each year since 2004, and a record 1,293 cases were confirmed in 2010. Public health experts attribute the increase partially to increased awareness by doctors, rising tick infection rates and an expanding presence of ticks. “It’s a public health menace we continue to ignore,” Cunningham wrote. “Fewer than 10 deer per square mile is widely agreed to be the maximum number for safety.”
- A New Front in the Lyme Wars, The New Yorker, Jan 15, 2015
Moreover, at least four pathogens, in addition to the Lyme bacterium, can be transmitted by the black-legged tick: Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which causes anaplasmosis; Babesia microti, which causes babesiosis; Borrelia miyamotoi, a recently discovered genetic relative of the Lyme spirochete; and Powassan virus. Some of these infections are more dangerous than Lyme, and more than one can infect a person at the same time. Simultaneous infection, scientists suggest, may well enhance the strength of the assault on the immune system, while making the disease itself harder to treat or recognize.
- TICK BORNE ILLNESS- PREVENTION TASK FORCE, HVCEO, 2015
The greatly increasing incidence of Lyme Disease in Connecticut is a public health crisis. Municipalities in the Housatonic Valley Region have their individual efforts to fight the disease and are jointly sponsoring this regional web page.
- Deer Tick, Ixodes scapularis, National Geographic
Lyme disease is a debilitating, though rarely fatal, infection that is often misdiagnosed because early symptoms closely resemble the flu. Victims usually have a slowly-spreading bull’s-eye-shaped rash where the tick attached, but not always. If untreated by antibiotics, patients can develop a variety of health problems, including facial paralysis, heart palpitations, arthritis, severe headaches, and neurological disorders. Associated mainly with the Northeast, deer ticks live throughout the central and eastern United States, wherever their favorite hosts, deer and rodents, are present.
- Lyme disease enhances spread of emerging tick infection, Yale News, Dec 29, 2014
Mice that are already infected with the pathogen that causes Lyme disease appear to facilitate the spread of a lesser-known but emerging disease, babesiosis, into new areas.
- Autumn Hunting May Fight Summer Lyme Disease , Inside Science, Dec 26, 2014
Lurking in the trees of the northeast and upper Midwest is a great abundance of deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis for the eastern black-legged tick, and Ixodes pacificus for the western black-legged tick), which can carry Borrelia burgdorferi – the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
By and large, the prevalence of Lyme disease in the U.S. has held steady across the last 10 years or so, but public health officials, especially in the Midwest and northeast, are constantly looking for strategies to lessen the public’s risk of contracting Lyme disease – especially among children.
- Lyme Disease and Deer: The Connection is Clear, WildBuffalo, Inc, Oct 10, 2014
There are 3 important new papers out that shed light onto the never-ending discussion about deer, ticks and Lyme disease. For the longest time, the link between Lyme disease and deer has been in dispute in the scientific literature and obviously in the public. Despite some encouraging news from islands where deer population declines or eradication resulted in disappearance of Lyme disease, the debate centered on the role of mammals, particularly mice and chipmunks, and mesopredators (foxes, skunks, coyotes etc.) etc. With these 3 new papers, I can now confidently stand up and tell everyone who wants to listen that the link between deer abundance, tick abundance, incidence of Borelliosis in the ticks, and Lyme disease incidence in humans has a direct link. These papers are from CT, Thousand Islands Region in Canada and Indiana. They use very different methods, but all come to the same conclusions.
- What you need to know about Lyme carditis, CDC
Lyme carditis occurs when Lyme disease bacteria enter the tissues of the heart. This can interfere with the normal movement of electrical signals from the heart’s upper to lower chambers, a process that coordinates the beating of the heart. Based on national surveillance data from 2001-2010, Lyme carditis occurs in approximately 1% of Lyme disease cases reported to CDC.
- Climate Change Linked to Spread of Lyme Disease, EcoWatch, Sept 26, 2014
Canada. The range of the black-legged tick, which carries Lyme disease, is expanding north due to the warming effects of climate change.
- The Relationship Between Deer Density, Tick Abundance, and Human Cases of Lyme Disease in a Residential Community, Journal of Medical Entomology, July 2014
After hunts were initiated, number and frequency of deer observations in the community were greatly reduced as were resident-reported cases of Lyme disease. Number of resident-reported cases of Lyme disease per 100 households was strongly correlated to deer density in the community. Reducing deer density to 5.1 deer per square kilometer resulted in a 76% reduction in tick abundance, 70% reduction in the entomological risk index, and 80% reduction in resident-reported cases of Lyme disease in the community from before to after a hunt was initiated.
- DEER, TICKS, and LYME DISEASE: Deer Management as a Strategy for the Reduction of Lyme Disease, Stafford & Williams, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 2014
-The reduction of deer on Great Island (a peninsula on Cape Cod, MA) by 97% from an estimated
32 deer to 1 animal from 1982 to 1984 (52 deer in all) resulted in ~80 and ~55% average reductions in larvae and nymphs on mice in the 3 years following the intervention. Continued maintenance of a density > 6 deer/mi2 has reduced tick-borne disease incidence from 16% of a community of 220 people to only 3 cases since 1986.
– In the coastal community of Ipswich, MA, removal of deer over a 7-year deer period from 160 deer/mi2 to 27 deer/mi2 (~83%) reduced the average number of larval and nymphal I. scapularis on mice by 50 and 41%, respectively
– In Connecticut, deer were reduced from > 200/mi2 to ≤30/mi2 (~84%) at the Bluff Point Coastal
Preserve and a geographically isolated tract in Bridgeport (see figure below) producing a substantial (> 90%) decline in tick abundance from 9 – 12 nymphal I. scapularis per 100 m2 to ~1.0/100m2.
- Study: Urban Deer Hunting Reduces Chance of Lyme Disease, Outdoorhub, Sept 24, 2014
One of the co-authors behind the study, Howard Kilpatrick, told The Post-Standard that there are currently only about two or three reported cases of Lyme disease a year, compared to 10 times that number during the height of the deer population. He attributed much of that change to the heavily regulated bowhunting season in the two communities.
- Myths About Deer Management and Lyme Disease, WhiteBuffalo, Inc, Sept 10, 2014
“Deer population will rebound after a cull due to compensatory reproduction.” Misleading. The notion of a “rebound” or “population explosion” is not accurate. There won’t really be more incidents of twins or triplets. There may be a slight increase in survivorship of fawns, but it would only be noticeable in situations where the deer were in poor physical condition prior to management efforts. Of course, there will be new fawns each year. Reproduction doesn’t stop. In order to maintain the population at desired levels, there will need to be continued management (culling or sterilization). Triplets are infrequent and most healthy adult females already have twins. We always wonder exactly what an explosion would look like in areas where the deer are already healthy. So, the population will grow in subsequent years, but there really isn’t a dramatic “rebound” or “explosion.”
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and national health authorities do not recommend deer hunting to control Lyme disease.” Misleading. The CDC does in fact recognize that deer are a critical part of the black-legged tick’s life cycle. See: http://www.cdc.gov/features/lymedisease/
- Lyme Disease Changes Maine’s Deer Discussion, GeorgeSmithMaine.com, Sept 15, 2014
For more than a century, Maine deer have been managed for maximum populations that benefit deer hunters. But Lyme disease is changing the discussion, and is likely to force Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to reduce deer populations in coastal, southern, and central Maine – even while they struggle to rebuild deer populations in western and northern Maine.
- ‘Game-changing’ study: Reducing deer herd in residential communities reduces Lyme disease, Syracuse.com, Sept 10, 2014
“Reducing deer density to 5.1 deer per square kilometer resulted in a 76 percent reduction in tick abundance … and 80 percent reduction in resident-reported cases of Lyme disease in the community,” the [13year] study noted.
- Scientists give update on tick study in town, ReddingPilot.com, Aug 29, 2014
- Culling Deer Herd Curbs Lyme Disease, Study Says, Yale School of Medicine, July 11, 2014
- One Tick Bite Can Equal Two Infections, Healthy Day, July 3, 2014
- Thinning deer herds reduces cases of Lyme disease, Examiner.com, July 2, 2014
- The History of the Lyme Disease Vaccine, The History of Vaccines, July 31, 2014
Many people today are unaware that there ever was a human vaccine against Lyme disease – though many are aware of a vaccine to protect dogs – and the incidence of the disease in the United States continues to rise. The combination of poor communication about the recommended use of the vaccine and the poor reporting about possible side effects should not be forgotten in light of the current distrust of vaccines among some members of the public.
- Reducing deer populations may reduce risk of Lyme disease, Science Daily, July 1, 2014
- Lyme Disease Rates Fall When Deer Populations Dwindle, With Fewer Ticks To Transmit Disease, Medical Daily, July 1, 2014
- Nuisance deer in the spotlight in Bethlehem, TimesUnion.com, June 15, 2014
Reducing deer doesn’t necessarily reduce Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, said Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Dutchess County.
“When you cull a deer population, the ticks crowd onto the remaining deer,” Ostfeld said. “There are fewer deer but more ticks per deer.”
- Can Lyme disease be spread through sex?, Foxdc.com News, May 29, 2014
Lyme disease infections of humans are a big problem, and it’s growing bigger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacteria carried in some species of small ticks is now spreading Lyme disease to an estimated 300,000 new patients a year in the United States.
- New England copes with Lyme: Symposium Wednesday to learn how communities have dealt with epidemic, Jamestown Press, March 6, 2014
The ratio today of humans to deer on the plantation is 75-0. Lyme is nearly as hard to find as the deer. The number of new cases of Lyme had fallen to zero within a few years of the eradication.
- 7 Comments (on Lyme Disease) by Jdl59, 27East.com, Feb/April 2014
Lyme disease is under-diagnosed, under-reported, and under-treated. Even when treated with antibiotics, 10-20 percent can have persistent symptoms which may last for years, including crippling arthritis and brain damage. The group at highest risk for Lyme is the children. The animal rights fanatics care more about deer’s rights than they do about children’s health.”
- Geography, Deer, and Host Biodiversity Shape the Pattern of Lyme Disease Emergence in the Thousand Islands Archipelago of Ontario, Canada, PLOSone, Jan 2104
. Using this archipelago in a natural experiment, we examined the relative importance of various biotic and abiotic factors, including air temperature, vegetation, and host communities on Lyme disease risk in this zone of recent invasion. Deer abundance and temperature at ground level were positively associated with tick abundance, whereas the number of ticks in the environment, the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection, and the number of infected nymphs all decreased with increasing distance from the United States, the presumed source of this new endemic population of ticks. Higher species richness was associated with a lower number of infected nymphs. However, the relative abundance of Peromyscus leucopus was an important factor in modulating the effects of species richness such that high biodiversity did not always reduce the number of nymphs or the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection.
- NEWS: Recent study suggests that Lyme disease can be sexually transmitted, Lyme Disease.org, Jan 25, 2014
- A new study suggests that Lyme disease may be sexually transmitted. The study was presented at the annual Western Regional Meeting of the American Federation for Medical Research, and an abstract of the research was published in the January issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine.
Note: For now, the CDC reports that “there is no credible scientific evidence that Lyme disease can be spread from person-to-person through sexual contact.” The CDC says that even though Lyme bacteria resembles syphilis, the tick-borne disease cannot survive on the surface of skin or in genital secretions.
- Ticks, Lyme Disease Remain a Concern in Winter, ECO RI News, Jan 24, 2014
Mather, who runs the Tick Encounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island, McDonald and the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) held the workshop to publicize information about deer ticks and Lyme disease, as well as explain efforts to cull deer populations. Older ticks prefer to live on deer. Deer, therefore, tend to be the most common host for breeding deer ticks, especially when ticks are at their highest stage of transmitting Lyme disease.
- Lyme Disease: Call for a “Manhattan Project” to Combat the Epidemic, PLOS Pathogens, Jan 2014
preliminary studies from the CDC indicate that the Lyme disease epidemic has reached an unprecedented level with at least 300,000 people and as many as one million people, a majority of them women and children, diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States. The staggering magnitude of the epidemic should prompt the CDC to show leadership in developing new guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. A coordinated “Manhattan project” similar to the attack mounted against the HIV/AIDS epidemic is urgently needed to address the serious worldwide threat of Lyme disease.
- Tick Handbook
- Produced as part of the Connecticut community-based Lyme disease prevention project.
- common name: blacklegged tick or deer tick, University of Florida, Featured Creature, Jan 2013
- Dealing with Deer Ticks, John Moran, Newtown,CT
- Lyme Disease rages in Northeast, The Wildlife News, May 11, 2014
- WHY LYME DISEASE IS INCREASING: Areas with Low Biodiversity Increase the Threat of Lyme Disease, Town of Hanover, NH 2014
Since Lyme Disease was first discovered in areas with high deer density, deer were believed to be the tick’s primary host for the disease and the source of its infection. However, most ticks are infected well before they feast on deer. Ostfeld estimates that deer are responsible for only 1% of infected ticks. However, deer are where most adult ticks find mates and have their final blood meal. In 2003, a study in Maine found that ticks on deer decreased with elevation and with distance from the coast. Few ticks were collected at deer densities of less than 15 deer per square mile.
- CDC Links Lyme Disease to 3 Sudden Cardiac Deaths, ABC News, Dec 14, 2013
Lyme disease has been linked to the deaths of three people who suffered sudden cardiac death. In their weekly Morbidity and Mortality report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that health officials had found signs of Lyme disease in three people who died of sudden cardiac death, although none had been diagnosed with Lyme disease at the time of their deaths. The two men and a woman were between the ages of 26 and 38 years old.
- The Lyme Wars, The New Yorker, July 1, 2013
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States, and the incidence is growing rapidly. In 2009, the C.D.C. reported thirty-eight thousand cases, three times more than in 1991. Most researchers agree that the true number of infections is five to ten times higher. Although some of that increase is due to heightened awareness, transmission is rising in areas, like New England, where the disease is well established, and is spreading to regions as far south as Florida, through changes in climate and the movements of infected animals.
- Sam Telford from Tufts talks tough on ticks at Chilmark meeting, MVTimes, Aug 28, 2013
Given that four days earlier the Center for Disease Control made the stunning announcement that Lyme disease is ten times more prevalent than previously estimated, the timing of this TBDC talk at ground zero couldn’t have been better. “There should be a thousand people here,” said Aquinnah resident Sondra Mekonian. “I know so many people with Lyme, even my dog had it. It’s scary.”
- Coyotes, Red Foxes, and the Prevalence of Lyme Disease, Northeast Naturalist, Oct 2013
This paper re-examines the evidence used by Levi at al. (2012) to reach their conclusions. We address the following points: 1) Levi et al. did not provide data on rodent populations or Lyme disease incidence; 2) Coyotes eat rodents, so a Coyote-induced reduction of Red Fox populations might not result in increased rodent populations; 3) Coyote harvests are poor indicators of Coyote abundance; 4) both Red Fox numbers and rodent numbers fluctuate dramatically due to factors such as disease and weather; 5) some of the data used by Levi et al. (2012) were from regions with western Coyotes, while other data were from areas with hybrid eastern Coyotes, thus confounding the situation; and 6) Levi et al. did not consider important alternative hypotheses, such as habitat fragmentation and climate change. Additionally, the historical dynamics of the Lyme disease system are unknown given that Canis lupus lycaon (= Canis lycaon) (Eastern Wolf) and Urocyon cinereoargenteus (Gray Foxes) originally lived m most of the northeast, while Red Foxes and Coyotes were historically absent from most of the area.
- CDC Reveals Lyme Disease Case Increase, Children’s National Health System, Aug 22, 2013
Researchers have determined this week that the number of individuals infected with Lyme disease each year has been grossly under estimated. About 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually, which is 10 times higher than the estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- FAQ for the Medfield 2012 Deer Culling Program, Medfield Lyme Disease Study Committee, 2013
Reducing deer populations has shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme Disease. Lyme disease has been increasing and poses a significant health risk to the residents of Medfield and surrounding towns. Deer are a key part in the life cycle of deer ticks which carry Lyme disease. Multiple studies have shown a strong link between large deer populations and the incidents of Lyme disease. Conversely, when deer populations have been reduced, Lyme disease has been reduced.
- Coyotes, Red Foxes, and the Prevalence of Lyme Disease, Northeastern Naturalist, 2013
We suggest proceeding with caution when concluding that Coyotes are the most robust mechanism causing an increase in Lyme disease cases in the eastern United States.
- The Lyme Disease Debate: Host Biodiversity and Human Disease Risk, Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2013
Blame for the emergence of both black-legged ticks and Lyme disease has typically focused on deer, which have abundantly repopulated the northeastern and midwestern United States over the last few decades. Yet deer turn out to be immune to infection with Bb;16 even though they’re an important host for ticks, especially in the adult life phase, they don’t transmit Lyme disease.
- White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as a Potential Sentinel for Human Lyme Disease in Indiana, Zoonoses and Public Health, 2013
Our results indicate a statistically significant correlation between human LD incidence and the distribution of deer and I. scapularis-infested deer whether infected or not infected with Bb. Hence, it is plausible to state that deer can serve as an accurate sentinel for human LD. This confirms and reinforces our results from a previous report about the use of hunted deer to describe the distribution of Bb (Keefe et al., 2009). Further, this study emphasizes the concept that ecological data on vector-borne zoonosis are essential in understanding and predicting human risk. Indiana appears to be an emerging area for LD (Pinger, 2008), and this information will have local and regional importance.
- Dangerous Deer Ticks, National Geographic, Nov 10, 2012
View video at www.hulu.com/watch/410044
- Evaluation of Deer-Targeted Interventions on Lyme Disease Incidence in Connecticut, Public Health Rep. 2011 May-Jun
- Ticks and Lyme Prevention, Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance, 2010
- Ending the Lyme disease epidemic: a real possibility, Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance, 2010
The following facts are provided by the CT Dept of Public Health and the CT Agriculture Experiment Station:
– Lyme incidence parallels deer population growth
– Fairfield County has the highest number of cases of Lyme disease in Connecticut
– Connecticut has the highest rate of Lyme in the United States
– Reducing deer numbers reduces tick numbers
– Reducing deer to below 8 to 10 per sq mile breaks the tick life cycle and prevents Lyme disease
- Subject: CT House Bill 5852: An Act to Control Lyme Disease
- Excerpt from: Lyme Disease — The Ecology of a Complex System, Richard Oxfeld, 2008?
- Climate, Deer, Rodents, and Acorns as Determinants of Variation in Lyme-Disease Risk, PLOS, May 2006
Risk of human exposure to vector-borne zoonotic pathogens is a function of the abundance and infection prevalence of vectors. We assessed the determinants of Lyme-disease risk (density and Borrelia burgdorferi-infection prevalence of nymphal Ixodes scapularis ticks) over 13 y on several field plots within eastern deciduous forests in the epicenter of US Lyme disease (Dutchess County, New York). We used a model comparison approach to simultaneously test the importance of ambient growing-season temperature, precipitation, two indices of deer (Odocoileus virginianus) abundance, and densities of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), and acorns ( Quercus spp.), in both simple and multiple regression models, in predicting entomological risk. Indices of deer abundance had no predictive power, and precipitation in the current year and temperature in the prior year had only weak effects on entomological risk. The strongest predictors of a current year’s risk were the prior year’s abundance of mice and chipmunks and abundance of acorns 2 y previously. In no case did inclusion of deer or climate variables improve the predictive power of models based on rodents, acorns, or both. We conclude that interannual variation in entomological risk of exposure to Lyme disease is correlated positively with prior abundance of key hosts for the immature stages of the tick vector and with critical food resources for those hosts.
- Deer Reduction and Management, 2005?
The reduction of deer on Great Island (a peninsula on Cape Cod, MA) by 97% from an estimated 32 deer to 1 animal from 1982 to 1984 (52 deer in all) resulted in ~80 and ~55% average reductions in larvae and nymphs on mice in the 3 years following the intervention. Continued maintenance of a density >6 deer/ sq. mi. has reduced tick-borne disease incidence from 16% of a community of 220 people to only 3 cases since 1986
- Lyme disease and seventh nerve paralysis in children, Am J Otolaryngol. 1997 Sep-Oct;18(5):320-3
We conclude that transient Facial Nerve Paralysis in children is most commonly caused by Lyme Disease for regions with endemic infections caused by Borrelia burgdorferi..
- Borrelia burgdorferi in an Urban Environment: White-Tailed Deer with Infected Ticks and Antibodies, JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY, March 1995
Deer, predators, and the emergence of Lyme disease, PNAS, May 2012
White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as a Potential Sentinel for Human Lyme Disease in Indiana, Zoonooses and Public Health, 2013
The Biological and Social Phenomenon of Lyme Disease, Science, 1993