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Of Mice & Ticks: Using Ecology to Prevent Lyme Disease

We shouldn't be afraid to take a walk in the woods. Unfortunately, blacklegged ticks have become a scourge. These tiny arachnids – often smaller than a poppy seed – can infect us with Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus, and more.

According to the CDC, reported tick-borne disease cases have doubled since 2004, with New York second only to Pennsylvania in number of infected residents. Westchester, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley are hotspots. Blacklegged ticks have been found in woody parks in most of New York City's boroughs. Reducing ticks and our contact with them is a priority.

Dr. Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist and national expert on Lyme disease ecology discusses: why ticks and tick-borne disease are on the rise, how wildlife influences our risk of getting sick, and ways that ecology can inform tick management and make the outdoors safer for people and pets.

Discover why white-footed mice are public enemy #1, how opossums are allies in the fight against Lyme disease, and how climate change is allowing blacklegged ticks to thrive in the Northeast. Ostfeld also discusses The Tick Project, a five-year study aimed at reducing Lyme disease where people are most at risk.

Lyme disease is an ecological puzzle. We're putting the pieces together to reclaim the outdoors. Join the conversation.


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