Investigator:

Liza Lutzker

Advisor: Durland Fish

Description:

Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector borne disease in North America and its incidence rises dramatically every year. This rise in incidence can be primarily attributed to the increase of suitable environment for the arthropod vector of Lyme disease, Ixodes scapularis. The density of host-seeking, nymphal I. scapularis ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, can provide an accurate assessment of entomological risk for human infection.

Field data measuring the density of infected, host-seeking, nymphal I. scapularis ticks have been collected for approximately 300 data points throughout the eastern United States. Through the use of classified land cover data sets and remotely sensed imagery, correlations between entomological risk for Lyme disease and landscape characteristics, such as forest fragmentation, will be assessed.