Lyme Disease

Acorns and Lyme disease


In New York's Hudson Valley, it's hard to go outside without stepping on an acorn. Oaks have 'boom and bust' acorn production cycles. In lean years, trees produce a handful of nuts. In boom years, acorns seem to rain down from the sky. 


Autumn’s bounty-the feast before the famine

Here in the Hudson Valley, nature’s harvest has been abundant. Nuts and fruits will help wildlife fuel their southern migrations or stock their winter larders. Not every year produces such a bounty; this season’s bumper crop of wild foods will impact local plants and animals for years to come.

State funds further local Lyme disease research


NYS Senator Sue Serino was joined by Cary's Rick Ostfeld  to announce that $600,000 has been secured to combat Lyme Disease in the State–$90,000 of which will go to the Cary Institute for Lyme Disease research.

Opossums are the saviors of humans against lyme disease — don’t make them roadkill

Many people don't give a lot of thought to some of the forest animals that may be crossing a road or trying to scurry out of the way as a car comes speeding around a corner. Well, there may be a lot more thought given to opossums, now that they have been connected to being the saviors of human beings against Lyme disease.

The growing global battle against blood-sucking ticks

Diseases spread by ticks are on the rise around the world, spurred by a combination of factors, including shifting climates and population sprawl into rural areas. Reported cases of Lyme, the most common US tick-borne illness, have nearly tripled in the country since 1992.

This New Map Shows Your Risk of Catching Lyme Disease

If you don't live in the northeastern United States, you may not think much about diseases transmitted by ticks. If you do live there, or spend part of the summer along the coastal arc that stretches from Virginia and Maryland up through southern Maine, consciousness of these sneaky, potentially disabling illnesses—Lyme disease and its lesser-known brethren, including erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and the rest—is hard to escape.

CDC report: Lyme disease is spreading to new territories

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Lyme disease has substantially expanded over the past few decades, with 17 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest now considered at high risk.

How one local man's immunity to ticks could save us all

Rick Ostfeld is a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook. For decades, he has studied ticks and tick-borne diseases, primarily in the forests and fields of the mid-Hudson Valley.

Get the Facts: Lyme Disease


Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute and Dr. Richard Horowitz, author and noted Lyme disease expert answer questions and discuss information you need to know about Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is spreading faster than ever and humans are partly to blame

Avril Lavigne is the latest celebrity to reveal being felled by Lyme disease. After months of withering fatigue, the Canadian singer-songwriter was finally diagnosed with the tick-borne illness.

Ecology of Lyme Disease (pdf, 2 MB)

Guide of basic tick ecology and some facts you may not know about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

Use wild opossums to rid your property of ticks

Opossums are North America's only native marsupials. An opossum vaguely resembles a cross between a housecat and a giant rat, and while they're tolerated as a relative newcomer to Maine's wilderness — migrating into the state within the last half century or so — they're not especially cherished.

The Ecology of Lyme Disease

Lecture Video

Explore the ecology of Lyme disease with Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute. For more than twenty years, Ostfeld and his research team have been investigating how environmental conditions influence the spread of tick-borne illness.

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?


According to Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, if we want to get a leg up on tick-borne illness we need to become vigilant earlier in the season.

In a warmer world, the ticks that spread disease are arriving earlier


In the northeastern US, warmer spring temperatures are leading to shifts in the emergence of the blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens.

ostfeld lab

Time to Move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

The month of May brings many things, among them Mother’s Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at Cary, if we want to get a leg up on tick-borne illness we need to become vigilant earlier in the season.


Harsh northeast winter no hindrance to hungry ticks

Think you're safe from ticks because the harsh winter froze them or because you haven't been trekking through the woods? Think again.

Opossums: Where Lyme disease goes to die

Say hello to the opossum, the American marsupial with a pointy nose and prehensile tail that dines on ticks like a vacuum dines on dust.

Snow protects infected ticks

This frigid, snowy winter may be keeping many people indoors, but is likely doing little to kill slumbering hordes of ticks that can carry Lyme disease.

Dr Richarcd Ostfeld and Kelly Oggenfuss monitor tick activity on the Cary Institute's campus.

In a warmer world, ticks that spread disease are arriving earlier, expanding their ranges

In the northeastern United States, warmer spring temperatures are leading to shifts in the emergence of the blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens. At the same time, milder weather is allowing ticks to spread into new geographic regions.

Tick-borne Diseases in the Hudson Valley: The Ecology of Risk


Cary disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld  provides new information on the various tick-borne diseases that affect the Hudson Valley in New York State.

Bumper acorn crop now, not good news for Lyme disease later

Mice, chipmunks and shrews are welcoming hosts for the bacteria ticks spread. They're plentiful. They're low to the ground, so ticks can easily hop aboard. And they lack the immune systems that might compromise any infectious agents.


Small, fast, and crowded: Mammal traits amplify Lyme disease risk

In the U.S., some 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually. Thousands also suffer from babesiosis and anaplasmosis, tick-borne ailments that can occur alone or as co-infections with Lyme disease.

Scientists track ticks as they move north

While Lyme disease is usually found along coastal areas-the mid-Hudson valley, Long Island, and parts of the Jersey shore-people are now reporting tick bites further and further north into the Capital region, and even some people in the Adirondacks

Four facts about tick-borne illness

Cary Institute scientists have been investigating the ecology of Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments for more than 20 years. Here are some important tick facts to remember this summer.

blacklegged tick

Study finds one tick bite can deliver multiple infections

A new study in New York reveals that ticks are more likely to be infected with several pathogens, not just the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The ticks for the study were collected from Dutchess County.


Single tick bite can pack double pathogen punch

People who get bitten by a blacklegged tick have a higher-than-expected chance of being exposed to more than one pathogen at the same time.

Cary Institute to study Lyme's effect on mice

Fresh off of a study that showed mice don't die any quicker as uninfected ticks pile onto them, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is launching research that will examine how mice fare after they get Lyme disease.

Tick Trouble


With warmer temperatures comes more ticks and more of the illnesses they carry. CNN reports on Lyme and interviews Cary's Rick Ostfeld about his research on ticks and tick-borne illnesses.

Lyme Disease: Ten things you always wanted to know about ticks...

To find out how to steer clear of Lyme disease during "picnic season" - a time when people are more likely to pick up ticks - the National Science Foundation spoke with NSF-funded disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute.

Lyme disease season approaches, but it's still too early to tell how the cold winter affected ticks

With the snow melted and the weather warming, folks are finally making their way outdoors, where, if you live anywhere in the Hudson Valley, the black-footed tick that carries Lyme disease can be found.

Tick Study


Tick studies at Cary.

As tick infestation grows, so does Lyme disease research

Here are a few things you might not know about ticks: One, they’re not insects. They’re closer to the spider in nature, making them arachnids. Also, they don’t fly, hop, jump or fall out of trees.

Tick season is upon us

Video Report
Springtime is finally upon us again and as people head back outside to enjoy the outdoors they increase their chances of getting bit by a tick.


Opossums - killers of ticks

At night, when you catch sight of an opossum in your car headlights, you are allowed to think, "That is one ugly little animal."

mouse tagged

Ticks don't harm mice, study finds, meaning Lyme threat is not decreased

When researchers at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies began a recent study, they wanted to know the answer to a simple question: What effect do ticks have on the health of mice?

mouse tagging

Mice give ticks a free lunch

People living in northern and central parts of the U.S. are more likely to contract Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments when white-footed mice are abundant. Mice are effective at transferring disease-causing pathogens to feeding ticks.

Breaking the transmission cycle of Lyme disease

What if we could vaccinate the white-footed mice that account for the majority of the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi (the cause of Lyme disease) and significantly reduce the level of tick infection?

Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System


Dr. Ostfeld presents a compelling case on the importance of ecology in controlling Lyme disease.

Lyme disease: Freezes may reduce ticks

A 2012 study co-authored by Cary Disease Ecologist Rick Ostfeld examined the probability of tick mortality in winter conditions in Millbrook and Syracuse.

Study questions link between increases in Lyme disease and deer

We often blame white-tailed deer and the deer ticks they carry for spreading Lyme disease in the United States, especially from Minnesota to New England to Northern Virginia.

An interview with Rick Ostfeld

Initially, Rick Ostfeld’s work at the Cary Institute focused on how small mammals shape forests. Early on, he noticed a unique relationship among mice, black-legged ticks, and the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

The global search for education: Prevention - ticks

Given the 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year in the US reported by the CDC, it is understandable that health organizations and local governments in this country are extremely anxious to develop a broader, more effective tick-borne diseases control strategy.

More tickborne diseases other than Lyme. Maybe just don’t go outside.

Some tick-borne diseases are just becoming known and thus are often not recognized by physicians.

CDC study focuses on spraying pesticides and tick-borne diseases

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at whether spraying yards with pesticides reduces the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease.

The Lyme Wars

The New Yorker reports on the controversy surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Columnist Michael Specter interviewed Cary disease ecologist Richard Ostfeld about the ecology of ticks and the spread of the disease.

Gibson: Lyme disease a major health problem

Richard S. Ostfeld,  a disease ecologist specializing in Lyme disease and West Nile Virus, said while "large advances have been made even with rather paltry funding," there needs to be "rapid improvements," such as better diagnostics for early-stage Lyme.

NYC forum: Silent Epidemic of Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases

Three members of Congress joined forces with a Lyme disease advocacy group to host a forum to discuss the fight against tick-borne diseases. As a panelist, Cary's Rick Ostfeld shared his research and insights.

Biodiversity impacts Lyme disease

Science is revealing just how important preserving a diverse array of plants and wildlife is to reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

Year in review: Worst summer yet for Lyme disease?

MedPage Today reviews the major medical news stories of the past year and includes disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld's warning of an increased risk of Lyme disease during the summer of 2012.

Learning From Lyme


American Museum of Natural History documentary on Lyme disease featuring research conducted at the Cary Institute by Dr. Richard Ostfeld and his team. 

Lyme disease: Dutchess leads nation in cases

Dutchess County and four other mid-Hudson Valley counties have the nation's highest rates of Lyme disease, an illness transmitted by the bite of a tiny — and insidious — tick.

This graphic shows the parts of the country with the highest incidences of Lyme disease. Graphic courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lyme and other infectious diseases remain a concern in Dutchess County

Continued research is necessary to develop control measures to reduce the incidence of the disease. 


Have deer gotten a false rap for Lyme disease?


It's commonly believed that Lyme disease risk is tied to the presence of deer ticks and white-tailed deer. But this simply isn't correct.

Why you should brake for opossums


The next time you see a opossum playing dead on the road, try your best to avoid hitting it. Because it turns out that opossums are allies in the fight against Lyme disease.

Fox and coyote and ticks - oh, my!

Understanding the relationship between red foxes and coyotes may be another key in understanding the ecology of Lyme disease.

Understanding tick-borne diseases

Millbrook, NY – The Hudson Valley has the unfortunate distinction of being the global epicenter of tick-borne disease. And the situation is getting worse. 

Warm spring tops off a perfect storm for increased Lyme disease risk

"We expect 2012 to be the worst year for Lyme disease risk ever." 

Plentiful acorns are sign of rising Lyme disease risk

The scarcity of acorns in the fall of 2011 set up a perfect storm for human Lyme disease risk. 

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for the Northeastern U.S.

Millbrook, NY – The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter.

Field notes: Where did all the acorns go?

Paying attention to cycles in acorn production can provide us with valuable information about the world we live in. 

chipmunk with ticks

Has warming spread Lyme?

The Lower Hudson Valley has long been considered the epicenter for Lyme disease in New York state. As a result, most Dutchess County residents are well acquainted with the disease.


Acorn glut signals Lyme risks

In our research sites at the Cary Institute and throughout the Hudson Valley, we are seeing acorn production of unprecedented proportions.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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