Ticks

Role of white-tailed deer in geographic spread of the black-legged tick Ixodes scapularis : Analysis of a spatially nonlocal model, American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Aug 2018Lyme disease accounts for over 90% of all reported vector-borne disease in the United States. Its current invasive spread in the eastern U.S. constitutes a major public health concern. B.burgdorferi-infected I.scapularis are found at highest densities in endemic foci in the Northeast and upper Midwestern United States. However, increasing incidence of human cases is related, in part, to the ongoing geographical spread of ticks into new areas such as Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.

Ticks are capable of moving only very short distances independently, so their fast and large scale spatial spread cannot be attributed solely to their own mobility. Rather, large-scale changes in tick distribution arise as a consequence of the movement of ticks by the vertebrate hosts to which they attach while feeding. Among such hosts are, in the order of the distances they can move, white-footed mice Peromyscus leucopus, white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, and some migratory birds. This paper focuses on the role of white-tailed deer in spreading the ticks. Over the past 50 years, white-tailed deer populations have undergone explosive population growth due to reversion of agricultural lands to forest and restrictions on hunting. This expanding deer population is believed to have facilitated blacklegged tick expansion throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

Ticks and Your Health: Preventing Tick-borne Illnesses in Michigan, MI Tick Guide, 2018If your home is bordered by grassy or wooded areas with abundant wildlife, including deer and small mammals, there are several ways you can create a “tick safe zone” around your residence. Wildlife and ticks need moist, shaded places to live and hide while they’re not searching for food. Keeping these areas separated from your lawn or recreation areas and reducing clutter around your home can help reduce the number of ticks dramatically.

Ticks are appearing more frequently in backyards. Here’s how to target ticks close to home., Journal Sentinal, July 3, 2018 Forty to 90 percent of white-footed mice [in Wisconsin] carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme.

Ticks rising, Aeon.com, April 2, 2018In a warming world, ticks thrive in more places than ever before, making Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change. Ticks can, and sometimes do, deliver two, three or four diseases in one bite. So resourceful are infected ticks that two feeding side by side on the same animal can pass pathogens, one to the other, and never infect the host. So clever is the Lyme pathogen that infected ticks are more efficient at finding prey than uninfected ticks. These ticks might not be able to fly or jump or trek more than a couple of human steps. But they have changed many lives, cost billions in medical care, and colored a walk in the woods or a child’s romp in the grass, our very relationship with nature, with angst.

Could Reducing Deer Populations Reduce Lyme Disease?, Entomology Today, Sept 28, 2017In a new article published in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Sam Telford, Ph.D., from the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, argues that reducing deer populations is a key component of managing tick populations.

Projections in Deer Tick Habitat, Climate Central, June 28, 2017Deer ticks do not appear to behave the same way in all parts of the country. One reason for the differing behavior appears to be related to relative humidity. As temperatures climb from the increase in greenhouse gases, there is an increase in overall humidity. In a recent study, deer ticks died faster when relative humidity was moderate (75 percent), but survived longer under high humidity (85 percent-95 percent).

Lyme Isn’t the Only Disease Ticks Are Spreading This Summer, WIRED, May 29, 2017Scientists like Armstrong estimate that Powassan is only prevalent in about 4 percent of deer ticks, way lower than the 30 to 40 percent prevalence of Lyme disease. But here’s the thing. Lyme disease, which is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium, takes about 48 hours to transmit; if you find a tick on your body and remove it within a day or two, you can usually escape a Lyme infection. POW, on the other hand, goes from the tick’s body, through its saliva, and into your bloodstream within a few minutes of a bite. So even though it’s not in many ticks, if the right one gets you, there’s not much you can do.

Tick-Proof Your Yard Without Spraying, Consumer Reports, May 27, 2017When working in the yard, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes. Use insect repellent—the best in our tests provide more than 8 hours of tick protection. “And regardless of the time of year, perform a tick check as soon as you return indoors,” Goodman says.

What to do if you are bitten by a tick, NJ.com, May 26, 2017Sometimes it seems there is scary news about ticks nearly every day. An illness that struck a Connecticut baby reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April bought the extremely rare – but dangerous – Powassan virus to the public’s attention. In the meantime, an unknown number of people have developed an allergy to beef, pork and lamb as a result of a bite from the Lone Star Tick. And that’s on top of the state’s 4,855 new cases of Lyme disease confirmed in 2015, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. When combined, they create a climate in which the sight of a poppy-sized bug noshing on your ankle can trigger a near panic attack.

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