|Title||An ecological approach to predict areas with established populations of Ixodes scapularis in Quebec, Canada|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Journal||Ticks Tick Borne Dis|
|Authors||Hammond-Collins K, Tremblay M, Milord F, Baron G, Bouchard C, Kotchi SO, Lambert L, Leighton PA, Ogden NH, Rees EE|
|Keywords||ixodidae, Lyme disease, Regression analysis, ticks|
Information about tick population establishment is used to inform the risk of LD but is challenged by sampling biases from surveillance data. Misclassifying areas as having no established tick population underestimates the LD risk classification. We used a logistic regression model at the municipal level to predict the probability of I. scapularis population establishment based on passive tick surveillance data during the period of 2010-2017 in southern Quebec. We tested for the effect of abiotic and biotic factors hypothesized to influence tick biology and ecology. Additional variables controlled for sampling biases in the passive surveillance data. In our final selected model, tick population establishment was positively associated with annual cumulative degree-days > 0°C, precipitation and deer density, and negatively associated with coniferous and mixed forest types. Sampling biases from passive tick surveillance were controlled for using municipal population size and public health instructions on tick submissions. The model performed well as indicated by an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.92, sensitivity of 86% and specificity of 81%. Our model enables prediction of I. scapularis population establishment in areas which lack data from passive tick surveillance and may improve the sensitivity of LD risk categorization in these areas. A more sensitive system of LD risk classification is important for increasing awareness and use of protective measures employed against ticks, and decreasing the morbidity associated with LD.