Rise in Lyme Disease May Be Caused by Changes in Fox and Coyote Population, not Deer
EMSL Analytical tests for Lyme Disease in tick samples using advanced PCR-based DNA analysis
The increase in the deer population has long been given as the reason for the explosion of Lyme disease cases in the past few years, but now scientists are questioning that assumption. Some researchers now believe that a recent change in numbers of smaller predators such as foxes and coyotes may be the responsible for the disease.
Incidents that involve Lyme disease parallel with the rise of coyotes and decrease of fox life. Studies show that Lyme seemed to appear more closely related to predators then the deer.
Particularly in Wisconsin, the initial emergence of Lyme seemed to be connected with the deer boom in the 1980s and 1990s. However, Lyme has continued to spread, while the deer population has faded.
Foxes are prey for coyote, and therefore do not build dens where coyotes are present. The foxes’ prey, smaller animals that typically carry ticks, are thus free to multiply freely, leading to a rise in Lyme.
The majority of Lyme disease cases are reported during the summer when people spend more time outdoors. In summer months, ticks become increasingly active, which is why it is imperative to check for ticks upon returning inside. When checking, search hair, bodies, and clothes.
If found, send the ticks for testing.
“Not all ticks have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so testing them is crucial for determining a person’s risk of infection,” states Charles Li, Ph.D., Director of PCR and DNA Analysis at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At EMSL, we use the most sensitive and accurate method, the so-called PCR-based DNA testing, to test for the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.”
“Because Lyme disease is so serious and requires immediate treatment, the accuracy and speed of the DNA testing is critical. EMSL offers rapid turn-around times for clients to receive their results,” he continued.
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How to Handle Tick for Lab Testing
Before searching for ticks, please have a pair of gloves, tweezers, and several small zip plastic bags with you:
1. Wear gloves or use plastic bag as gloves.
2. Hold tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin, pull straight back, and avoid crushing the tick’s body, as the tick’s body fluid may have bacteria.
3. Put the ticks into a small zip bag, and then put that bag into a second zip bag.
4. Wash the area with disinfectant.
5. Wash hands with soap and warm water.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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