Effects of Landscape Fragmentation and Climate on Lyme Disease Incidence in the Northeastern United States
Lyme disease is the most frequently reported vector borne illness in the United States, and incidences are increasing steadily year after year. This study explores the influence of landscape (e.g., land use pattern and landscape fragmentation) and climatic factors (e.g., temperature and precipitation) at a regional scale on Lyme disease incidence. The study area includes thirteen states in the Northeastern United States. Lyme disease incidence at county level for the period of 2002–2006 was linked with several key landscape and climatic variables in a negative binomial regression model. Results show that Lyme disease incidence has a relatively clear connection with regional landscape fragmentation and temperature. For example, more fragmentation between forests and residential areas results in higher local Lyme disease incidence. This study also indicates that, for the same landscape, some landscape variables derived at a particular scale show a clearer connection to Lyme disease than do others. In general, the study sheds more light on connections between Lyme disease incidence and climate and landscape patterns at the regional scale. Integrating findings of this regional study with studies at a local scale will further refine understanding of the pattern of Lyme disease as well as increase our ability to predict, prevent, and respond to disease.
KeywordsLyme disease climate forest fragmentation
- CDC (2012) Geographic distribution, CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html#western-blacklegged. Accessed 14 January 2013.
- ESRI (2011) ArcGIS Desktop: Release 10. Redlands, CA: Environmental Systems Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Gavanakov S, White DJ, Caraco T, Lapenis A., Robinson GR, Szymanski BK, et al. (2001) Lyme disease in New York state: Spatial pattern at a regional scale. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 65:538-545Google Scholar
- Homer C, Dewitz J, Fry J, Coan M, Hossain N, Larson C, Herold N, McKerrow A, VanDriel JN, Wickham J (2007) Completion of the 2001 National Land Cover Database for the Conterminous United States. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 73(4): 337-341Google Scholar
- IBM Corp (2011) IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0, Released 2011. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.Google Scholar
- McGarigal K, Cushman SA, Ene E (2012) FRAGSTATS v4: spatial pattern analysis program for categorical and continuous maps. Computer software program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. http://www.umass.edu/landeco/research/fragstats/fragstats.html.
- Orloski KA, Hayes EB, Campbell GL, Dennis DT (2000) Surveillance for Lyme disease—United States, 1992–1998. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 49:1–11Google Scholar
- URI TERC (2013) Tick habitat, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center. http://www.tickencounter.org/faq/tick_habitat. Accessed 12 January 2013.