2006 Lyme Disease Surveillance Results

Prevention is the key to controlling infection with Lyme Disease. The Medical Entomology laboratory coordinates a surveillance project that was designed to inform us of where one might encounter blacklegged ticks (a.k.a. deer ticks) (Ixodes scapularis)in the state of Iowa. These are the ticks that can transmit the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, that causes Lyme Disease. In addition, the project aims to determine if ticks in those regions are infected with the Lyme Disease bacterium, because the risk of contracting Lyme disease is strongly associated with the presence and number of these ticks and the proportion of those that carry B. burgdorferi.

12 December 2006
In 2006, 150 blacklegged tick samples were submitted to the ISU medical entomology laboratory from various counties around the state. The pie charts on the map above indicate the proportion of the three major tick species sent in from each county. Brown denotes the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis), yellow-the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and blue-the lonestar tick (Amblyomma americanum). The total number of ticks submitted from each county is indicated by the size of the pie chart. Black-legged ticks that are submitted are tested for the presence of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi). B. burgdorferi positive samples were identified in 9 counties (shown in grey) in 2006. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed specimens. This very important project is supported by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Tick testing takes place in the University Hygienic Lab (Iowa City, IA). Details for submitting specimens can be found through this LINK.