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Seminar/Event/Workshop Detail


Modeling Reservoir, Vector, Spatial and Human Behavioral Risk of Lyme Disease in Fragmented Ecospaces within Built Environments

Date/Time: 23 August 2016, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Speaker: Ralph M. Garruto, Ph.D.
Speaker Affiliation: Professor, Graduate Program in Biomedical Anthropology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York
Venue: John A. Burns School of Medicine, Medical Education Building, Room 315

For more info: Cori Watanabe, 692-1654
Description: Ecological factors, such as climate change, increasing animal reservoir populations, fragmentation of ecological spaces, and expansion of suburban and peri-urban human populations, are resulting in the overlap of significant numbers of people and tick populations carrying human pathogens in the Northeastern United States. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease annually with 95% of cases in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, the most densely populated regions within the United States. Our knowledge of the dynamic interaction between infected tick populations and humans in fractured ecospaces within built environments is minimal, and the lack of such knowledge leaves public health authorities and professionals at a disadvantage when addressing the emerging problem of tick-borne disease transmission in high prevalence areas. In upstate New York, specifically the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, we have found a prevalence rate of Borrelia burgdorferi of 28% in the primary reservoir host, Peromyscus leucopus. The infection rate of the tick vector, Ixodes scapularis, which transmits the infectious agent is 40%, with a density of infected nymphs of about 25%. Key demographic and behavioral factors that place humans at risk for contracting the disease have also been evaluated. Using project data over the past five years, we are building a systems dynamics simulation model within a six-county region of the Upper Susquehanna River Basin to provide a framework for understanding Lyme disease spread, for development of prevention strategies and for potential control of tick population growth.