|Title||High-Resolution Ecological Niche Modeling of Ixodes scapularis Ticks Based on Passive Surveillance Data at the Northern Frontier of Lyme Disease Emergence in North America|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Authors||Soucy JR, Slatculescu AM, Nyiraneza C, Ogden NH, Leighton PA, Kerr JT, Kulkarni MA|
|Journal||Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis.|
Lyme disease (LD) is a bacterial infection transmitted by the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in eastern North America. It is an emerging disease in Canada due to the expanding range of its tick vector. Environmental risk maps for LD, based on the distribution of the black-legged tick, have focused on coarse determinants such as climate. However, climatic factors vary little within individual health units, the level at which local public health decision-making takes place. We hypothesize that high-resolution environmental data and routinely collected passive surveillance data can be used to develop valid models for tick occurrence and provide insight into ecological processes affecting tick presence at fine scales. This study demonstrates the value of passive surveillance data to model local-scale environmental risk for the tick vector of LD at sites of interest to public health. Given the rising incidence of LD and other emerging vector-borne diseases in Canada, our findings support the ongoing collection of these data and collaboration with researchers to provide a timely and accurate portrait of evolving public health risk.