Steven E. Schutzer, MD; Bart K. Holland, PhD; Tom Brown
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Schutzer S., Holland B., Brown T.; Avoidance of Tick-Borne Diseases. Ann Intern Med. 1998;128:784. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-128-9-199805010-00032
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(9):784.
TO THE EDITOR:
Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted via a bite from the tick Ixodes scapularis. White-footed mice, which are hosts for the tick, are responsible for transmitting the organism causing Lyme disease [1-3]. Current recommendations to wear long sleeves and tuck one's pants into socks, in the hope of reducing exposure to ticks, are rarely followed . More practical methods are needed.
To test the hypothesis that ticks are most likely to be found in areas supportive of mice, we performed several experiments. Among survival requirements or mice, a key variable is ground cover for protection; open space is dangerous . Pairs of investigators, training in a wilderness survival school, randomly chose and explored different 0-square-yard areas in the woods during nymphal tick season for signs of mice (bedding, hairs, track imprints, chew marks, feeding, area, and scat) . On the basis of coverage, areas were independently classified as presenting putatively high, intermediate, and low suitability or risk. At first glance, the areas appeared similar. High suitability was defined by coverage greater than 3 inches high and bare ground that was not readily visible. Low suitability was defined by coverage less than 1 inch high and bare-ground spots.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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