Help us collect important data about Tick-borne diseases in the Adirondacks.
Blacklegged tick populations in the North Country
During the fall of 2017, surveillance for blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) was conducted at 39 sites in six North Country counties (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer and St. Lawrence). Blacklegged tick population density was highest at the lowest elevations, but ticks were also found at higher elevations sites (exceeding 1600 feet). Tick densities are still patchy, but there is risk of encounter throughout the North County.
Disease causing agents in these blacklegged ticks
In the fall of 2017, a total of 498 ticks were collected from 16 of the 39 sites surveyed, and were tested for presence of pathogens. Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, was found in blacklegged tick populations throughout the North Country. The average infection rate for Borrelia burgdorferi was 47.5%. Infection rates among the sites varied from 0-85%. Risk of Lyme disease exposure is likely present, even in very low density tick areas. Babesia microti, the malaria-like parasite which causes babesiosis in humans, was found at two sites in the North Country in 2016, both near the Clinton/Essex county border. In 2017, a significant geographic range spread was observed, with B. microti detected at five sites located in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties.
*The New York State Dept. of Health conducted pathogen testing as part of a statewide tick-borne pathogen surveillance.
Incidence of Lyme Disease in the North Country
Whereas, incidence of Lyme disease throughout New York State has remained fairly steady over the past two decades, incidences have risen sharply in the North Country. From 2010-2016, the incidence of Lyme disease in humans increased in all North Country counties. (see below)
A small number of cases of human babesiosis have been reported in Essex and Clinton Counties since 2015. Dogs are good sentinels for Lyme disease risk in humans. The percent of dogs in each county testing positive for Lyme disease exposure as of March 2018 are shown below (capcvet.org).