Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Forest Fragmentation May Increase Lyme Disease Risk
Patchy woods, particularly those consisting of less than five acres, may have more Lyme disease carrying ticks, which could increase both risk and incidence of disease in these areas. This is particularly worrisome given that this fragmentation is common in cities & in suburbia. Researchers found that smaller forest fragments had more infected ticks, which could explain the increase of Lyme disease in the U.S. in recent years. These findings provide a way in which the risk of Lyme disease could be reduced by adjusting our land use practices by decreasing fragmentation of forests into small patches, particularly in the northeastern U.S. where the incidence is the highest.