In this video, produced by Harvard University's Center for the Environment as a resource for the Planetary Health Alliance, Rick Ostfeld explains the ecology of Lyme disease. Discover how acorns and white-footed mice amplify disease risk, why predators like foxes make good neighbors, and the impact climate change and forest fragmentation have on the spread of tick-borne disease.
Rick Ostfeld and Felicia Keesing have been studying Lyme disease and ways to stop it for more than 20 years. The couple has come up with a way to predict how bad a Lyme season will be a full year in advance.
Protecting the environment is usually easier to the extent we can link it to human health concerns. The tough federal Clean Air Act, for example, has been driving the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, but the real impetus for the law is the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate that it’s saving more than 160,000 human lives each year.
The Cary Institute has embarked on an ambitious study that will test environmental interventions with the potential to reduce tick-borne disease in neighborhoods. The goal: to lower Lyme disease rates and protect public health.
When the scientists behind an ambitious tick study began their work in April, they did not know how many Dutchess County families would be willing to grant access to their properties and personal health information.
On a Thursday morning in May, I follow researcher Kelly Oggenfuss into the forest on the grounds of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. Stopping at an orange flag, she picks up a footlong metal box. With a gloved hand, she extracts a terrified-looking rodent. "These guys," she says, pinching the mouse between the shoulder blades, "are really good at passing along Lyme disease to ticks."
Two institutions in the Hudson Valley have received a $5 million grant for a large-scale study aimed at reducing tick populations and Lyme disease. The five-year project is the first to explore Lyme disease management for entire communities.
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has awarded a $5 million dollar leadership grant to the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies to support a scientific study, being done in partnership with Bard College, that seeks to reduce Lyme disease in neighborhoods.
As part of the PBS series, Global Health Frontiers, Cary's Rick Ostfeld and other wildlife sleuths work to unravel complex factors driving the explosive spread of Lyme disease in a yard-to-yard battle to try and turn the tide.
This holiday season, you better watch out — for ticks. Unusually high fall temperatures in the northeastern United States have let blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also known as deer ticks, remain active later into December than usual.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Podcast 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Video 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.