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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News release] Long-term study on ticks reveals shifting migration patterns, disease risks

From the 11 May 2015 Indiana University news release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Over nearly 15 years spent studying ticks, Indiana University’s Keith Clay has found southern Indiana to be an oasis free from Lyme disease, the condition most associated with these arachnids that are the second most common parasitic disease vector on Earth.

He has also seen signs that this low-risk environment is changing, both in Indiana and in other regions of the U.S.

A Distinguished Professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology, Clay has received support for his research on ticks from over $2.7 million in grants from the National Science Foundation-National Institutes of Health’s Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program and others.

Clay’s lab has found relatively few pathogens in southern Indiana ticks that cause common tick-borne diseases compared to the Northeast and states like Wisconsin and Minnesota.

But Lyme disease has been detected just a few hours north of the region around Tippecanoe River State Park and Lake Michigan’s Indiana Dunes, and Clay said the signs are there that new tick species, and possibly the pathogens they carry, are entering the area.

“Just in the past 10 years, we’re seeing things shift considerably,” Clay said. “You used to never see lone star ticks in Indiana; now they’re very common. In 10 years, we’re likely to see the Gulf Coast tick here, too. There are several theories for why this is happening, but the big one is climate change.”

A vector for disease

The conclusions are drawn from years of work spent mapping tick boundaries and disease risks, but the exact cause of the shifting borders is not clear. In addition to changing temperatures, Clay references changes in animal populations, including deer, which provide large, mobile hosts for the parasites.

 

May 21, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News release] Long-term study on ticks reveals shifting migration patterns, disease risks

Long-term study on ticks reveals shifting migration patterns, disease risks.

From the 11 May 2015 Indiana University news release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Over nearly 15 years spent studying ticks, Indiana University’s Keith Clay has found southern Indiana to be an oasis free from Lyme disease, the condition most associated with these arachnids that are the second most common parasitic disease vector on Earth.

He has also seen signs that this low-risk environment is changing, both in Indiana and in other regions of the U.S.

A Distinguished Professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology, Clay has received support for his research on ticks from over $2.7 million in grants from the National Science Foundation-National Institutes of Health’s Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program and others.

Tick infographic

Clay’s lab has found relatively few pathogens in southern Indiana ticks that cause common tick-borne diseases compared to the Northeast and states like Wisconsin and Minnesota.

But Lyme disease has been detected just a few hours north of the region around Tippecanoe River State Park and Lake Michigan’s Indiana Dunes, and Clay said the signs are there that new tick species, and possibly the pathogens they carry, are entering the area.

“Just in the past 10 years, we’re seeing things shift considerably,” Clay said. “You used to never see lone star ticks in Indiana; now they’re very common. In 10 years, we’re likely to see the Gulf Coast tick here, too. There are several theories for why this is happening, but the big one is climate change.”

A vector for disease

The conclusions are drawn from years of work spent mapping tick boundaries and disease risks, but the exact cause of the shifting borders is not clear. In addition to changing temperatures, Clay references changes in animal populations, including deer, which provide large, mobile hosts for the parasites.

May 17, 2015 Posted by | environmental health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Tick-borne Disease Documented in Northeastern United States

news@JAMA

A recently identified tick-borne illness has been detected in 2 patients in the northeastern United States, according to case reports published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine as the US tick season begins to ramp up.

In 1995, when Japanese researchers identified the pathogen that causes this illness, a new species of Borrelia bacteria called Borrelia miyamotoi, their work marked a new approach to identifying a novel infectious disease, according to an editorial published alongside the study. Most new diseases are identified after a person becomes ill, but these researchers sought to identify potential disease-causing agents in a known vector of other human pathogens, a tick of the Ixodes genus that transmits a related Borrelia bacterium that causes Lyme disease in Japan and elsewhere. The discovery subsequently led to the identification of B miyamotoi in ticks in Eurasia and North America. By 2011, human cases of illness associated…

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | environmental health, Public Health, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

   

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