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The Association Between Hunter-Killed Deer and Lyme Disease in New Jersey, 2000–2014


Years when the deer population is robust during the autumn hunting season may point toward an elevated risk of Lyme disease (LD) in the human population two summers later. We applied overdispersed Poisson regression models to county-specific data from New Jersey for each year from 2000 to 2014. The average relative risk of LD for each additional hunter-killed deer per square mile was 1.12 (1.10, 1.14) for 2000–2007 and 1.11 (1.09, 1.13) for 2008–2014. The hunting data already collected for conservation and wildlife management purposes may be a relevant component of LD surveillance activities.

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Correspondence to Kathryn H. Jacobsen.

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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare for this unfunded project.

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Daniel L. Robertson and Leah M. Babin are co-first authors.



See Table 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 2
figure 2

Map of New Jersey counties showing hunter-killed deer per square mile from the 2005 to 2006 and 2009 to 2010 hunting seasons and subsequent rate of Lyme disease (per 1000 population) in 2007 and 2011.

Table 1 County-specific mean (minimum, maximum) across years of available data for hunter-killed deer, Lyme disease cases, and environmental factors.

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Robertson, D.L., Babin, L.M., Krall, J.R. et al. The Association Between Hunter-Killed Deer and Lyme Disease in New Jersey, 2000–2014. EcoHealth 16, 330–337 (2019).

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