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Open AccessArticle

Analyzing the Correlation between Deer Habitat and the Component of the Risk for Lyme Disease in Eastern Ontario, Canada: A GIS-Based Approach

Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
KFL & A Public Health, Kingston, ON K7M 1V5, Canada
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit, Brockville, ON K6V 7A3, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Fazlay S. Faruque and Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4(1), 105-123;
Received: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing and Geospatial Technologies in Public Health)
Lyme borreliosis, caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is an emerging vector-borne infectious disease in Canada. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), by the year 2020, 80% of Canadians will live in Lyme endemic areas. An understanding of the association of Ixodes scapularis, the main vector of Lyme disease, with it hosts is a fundamental component in assessing changes in the spatial distribution of human risk for Lyme disease. Through the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping methods and spatial analysis techniques, this study examines the population dynamics of the black-legged Lyme tick and its primary host, the white-tailed deer, in eastern Ontario, Canada. By developing a habitat suitability model through a GIS-based multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) analysis, the relationship of the deer habitat suitability map was generated and the results were compared with deer harvest data. Tick submission data collected from two public health units between 2006 and 2012 were used to explore the relationship between endemic ticks and deer habitat suitability in eastern Ontario. The positive correlation demonstrated between the deer habitat suitability model and deer harvest data allows us to further analyze the association between deer habitat and black-legged ticks in our study area. Our results revealed that the high tick submission number corresponds with the high suitability. These results are useful for developing management strategies that aim to prevent Lyme from becoming a threat to public health in Canada. Further studies are required to investigate how tick survival, behaviour and seasonal activity may change with projected climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: GIS; Lyme disease; habitat suitability; multi-criteria decision making GIS; Lyme disease; habitat suitability; multi-criteria decision making
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Chen, D.; Wong, H.; Belanger, P.; Moore, K.; Peterson, M.; Cunningham, J. Analyzing the Correlation between Deer Habitat and the Component of the Risk for Lyme Disease in Eastern Ontario, Canada: A GIS-Based Approach. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4, 105-123.

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