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FOREST ECOLOGY IN THE EASTERN US INFLUENCES LYME DISEASE RISK

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There is a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease in the fragmented forests of the Eastern United States. These areas have smaller populations of raccoons, foxes, and opossums, but their rodent density is booming.

Lyme disease is a common disease, reported frequently in the US. The blacklegged ticks in the fragmented forests of the eastern US always take a good blood meal at their larval, nymph, and adult stages. They do not have diseases when they are born. They acquire diseases when they feed on infected animals. Because of this, they become carriers of babesiosis, Lyme disease, and anaplasmosis.

The most competent carriers and reservoirs of mentioned diseases are eastern chipmunks and white footed mice. Mice usually have a cluster of at least fifty ticks attached to it. These rodents carry so many ticks without even turning weak.

When there is an abundance of acorns, the mice feed and reproduce in a frenzy. More mice running about results in more ticks. The oaks that produce acorns encourage mice production. In turn, the predators in that area take advantage of the rodent population boom.

Ticks transfer from the rodent to the infected animals and then the ticks wait until an uninfected human or animal comes along. Since there are no vaccines for Lyme disease, it is best to get the right information about when to visit the fragmented forest of the eastern US.

Read the original article at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180709132727.htm

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