Lyme disease risks could increase after mouse plague, experts warn


A mouse plague in the northeast Hudson River Valley in 2016 could fuel an increase in Lyme disease this year, two leading experts are warning.

New York ecologists Felicia Keesing and her husband, Rick Ostfeld, have studied the disease for two decades.

>> Read more trending news 

“We’re anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme,” Ostfeld said in an interview with NPR.

The two ecologists have reported that the number of mice directly correlates with the number of Lyme cases the following year because mice are very efficient at spreading the disease.  By counting the mice, the ecologists said they can predict the number of Lyme cases.

Mice infect the ticks and ticks are drawn to mice.

“An individual mouse might have 50, 60, even 100 ticks covering its ears and face,” Ostfeld told NPR.

Lyme disease, which is caused by a bacteria, is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected,  blacklegged tick and can cause flu-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If the disease is left untreated, it can cause severe long-term medical problems, the CDC said, but, if caught early, it’s easily treatable with antibiotics.

The disease has spread over the past 25 years from just a small part of the northeast and a tinier area in the Midwest, into most of the northeast, a large part of the Midwest and parts of the West Coast, the CDC reported.

The agency considers is a significant public health problem.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence
Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence

For more than two decades, Troy Mansfield was a registered sex offender for a crime he did not commit. And all that time, the prosecutors’ case file notes in the Williamson County district attorney’s office raised doubts about his guilt and pointed to evidence that could exonerate him. After he and his attorney discovered that evidence...
Crews search for potential 3rd victim after Lake Austin boat crash injures two
Crews search for potential 3rd victim after Lake Austin boat crash injures two

A two-boat crash on Lake Austin Tuesday night injured two men and caused first-responders to launch a search for a potential third victim, Austin fire officials said.  One of the men was critically injured, officials said. First-responders got the 911 call around 8 p.m. and went to the scene near Aqua Verde Drive, just west of Loop 360 (Capital...
Pressure rises to pull parkland as options for MLS stadium in Austin
Pressure rises to pull parkland as options for MLS stadium in Austin

Momentum is building to remove Precourt Sports Ventures’ preferred city parkland sites for a Major League Soccer stadium from consideration by the Austin City Council. Kathie Tovo, a critical swing vote on the council in the soccer saga, told the American-Statesman on Tuesday night that Butler Shores Metropolitan Park and Roy Guerrero Metropolitan...
Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence
Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence

For more than two decades, Troy Mansfield was a registered sex offender for a crime he did not commit. And all that time, the prosecutors’ case file notes in the Williamson County district attorney’s office raised doubts about his guilt and pointed to evidence that could exonerate him. After he and his attorney discovered that evidence...
Cornyn takes lead on effort to craft a Senate immigration bill
Cornyn takes lead on effort to craft a Senate immigration bill

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Tuesday he might want to borrow the Masai tribal “talking stick” that Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, used to ensure civility during pivotal negotiations that resulted in a short-term deal that ended the government shutdown Monday. Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, is riding herd over efforts to fashion a much...
More Stories