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Multi-Scale Clustering of Lyme Disease Risk at the Expanding Leading Edge of the Range of Ixodes scapularis in Canada

1
Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montréal, 3200 Rue Sicotte, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada
2
Epidemiology of Zoonoses and Public Health Research Unit (GREZOSP), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montréal, 3200 Rue Sicotte, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada
3
Zoonoses and Special Pathogens Division, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
4
Public Health Risk Sciences Division, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, 3200 Rue Sicotte, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada
5
Quebec Public Health Laboratory, Quebec Public Health Institute (INSPQ), 20045 Chemin Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3R5, Canada
6
Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040603
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract

Since its detection in Canada in the early 1990s, Ixodes scapularis, the primary tick vector of Lyme disease in eastern North America, has continued to expand northward. Estimates of the tick’s broad-scale distribution are useful for tracking the extent of the Lyme disease risk zone; however, tick distribution may vary widely within this zone. Here, we investigated I. scapularis nymph distribution at three spatial scales across the Lyme disease emergence zone in southern Quebec, Canada. We collected ticks and compared the nymph densities among different woodlands and different plots and transects within the same woodland. Hot spot analysis highlighted significant nymph clustering at each spatial scale. In regression models, nymph abundance was associated with litter depth, humidity, and elevation, which contribute to a suitable habitat for ticks, but also with the distance from the trail and the type of trail, which could be linked to host distribution and human disturbance. Accounting for this heterogeneous nymph distribution at a fine spatial scale could help improve Lyme disease management strategies but also help people to understand the risk variation around them and to adopt appropriate behaviors, such as staying on the trail in infested parks to limit their exposure to the vector and associated pathogens. View Full-Text
Keywords: emerging disease; Ixodidae; tick distribution; nymph density; local scale; park; trail; heterogeneity emerging disease; Ixodidae; tick distribution; nymph density; local scale; park; trail; heterogeneity
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Ripoche, M.; Lindsay, L.R.; Ludwig, A.; Ogden, N.H.; Thivierge, K.; Leighton, P.A. Multi-Scale Clustering of Lyme Disease Risk at the Expanding Leading Edge of the Range of Ixodes scapularis in Canada. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 603.

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