Eco-Epidemiology of Lyme disease on Block Island, Rhode Island  


Tick-borne diseases have increased dramatically in recent years. Current strategies to reduce human risk rely mostly on the use of area-wide applications of acaricides and personal protective behaviors, which previous studies have reported to have variable effectiveness. An important limitation of effectiveness studies, however, is that they do not control for differences in individual’s exposure to ticks, which could be significant among properties, even within highly endemic areas.

My lab is conducting a longitudinal serosurvey study on risk factors for Lyme disease infection on Block Island, RI, which simultaneously assesses human behavioral and environmental risk factors. We assess environmental risk by sampling ticks in subjects’ backyards and using high resolution satellite imagery to map and quantify the edge between lawn and woody vegetation where human-tick contact is more likely to occur. We are thus able to ascertain the relative role of behavioral and environmental risk factors on Lyme disease infection and the effectiveness of personal protective behaviors.

Dragging Pat            Block_Classification_Map5



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