Murray State University

Poster Title

GIS Analysis of Lyme Risk in Kentucky

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Lyme disease affects many people every year, but data on the impact of Lyme disease in Kentucky are limited. Our objective was to create a GIS (Geographic Information System) model predicting risk of Lyme borreliosis throughout Kentucky. This model is based on presence of Peromyscus leucopus, the primary reservoir species of the Lyme spirochete, in addition to their immunocompetence, conditions of the surrounding landscape (i.e. disturbance, etc.), and a dilution effect Previous research suggests that disturbance and habitat fragmentation, affect immunocompetence of P. leucopus, thereby increasing their vulnerability to Lyme disease. Using a GIS and Kentucky Gap Analysis Project data, we identified disturbed and undisturbed habitat patches found within the geographic range of P. leucopus. Disturbed and undisturbed habitat was classified using Kentucky stewardship data. Patches were then ranked based on area, with small patches carrying a higher Lyme disease risk. Weighted averages of patch sizes were calculated by area in each EcoRegion to determine a relative risk for Lyme disease. Our results suggest there is a moderate risk of Lyme disease throughout the state of Kentucky based on presence of Peromyscus leucopus and their immunocompetence, habitat disturbance, habitat fragmentation, and habitat patch size. Future analysis will incorporate a dilution effect by examining the impacts of the presence of the gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, and the short-tailed shrews, Blarina brevicauda and Blarina carolinensis, on our model of Lyme disease risk.

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GIS Analysis of Lyme Risk in Kentucky

Lyme disease affects many people every year, but data on the impact of Lyme disease in Kentucky are limited. Our objective was to create a GIS (Geographic Information System) model predicting risk of Lyme borreliosis throughout Kentucky. This model is based on presence of Peromyscus leucopus, the primary reservoir species of the Lyme spirochete, in addition to their immunocompetence, conditions of the surrounding landscape (i.e. disturbance, etc.), and a dilution effect Previous research suggests that disturbance and habitat fragmentation, affect immunocompetence of P. leucopus, thereby increasing their vulnerability to Lyme disease. Using a GIS and Kentucky Gap Analysis Project data, we identified disturbed and undisturbed habitat patches found within the geographic range of P. leucopus. Disturbed and undisturbed habitat was classified using Kentucky stewardship data. Patches were then ranked based on area, with small patches carrying a higher Lyme disease risk. Weighted averages of patch sizes were calculated by area in each EcoRegion to determine a relative risk for Lyme disease. Our results suggest there is a moderate risk of Lyme disease throughout the state of Kentucky based on presence of Peromyscus leucopus and their immunocompetence, habitat disturbance, habitat fragmentation, and habitat patch size. Future analysis will incorporate a dilution effect by examining the impacts of the presence of the gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, and the short-tailed shrews, Blarina brevicauda and Blarina carolinensis, on our model of Lyme disease risk.