Four state parks located in Lyme disease endemic regions of Wisconsin were surveyed for the presence of Ixodes scapularis Say during May and June of 1998 by drag sampling along hiking trails. Nymphal abundance varied between parks, with the average number of nymphs encountered in 1 h ranging from 6.2 ± 3.8-47.1 ± 36.3 (mean ± SD). Questing nymphs were tested for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi by culture in BSK medium and 7-12% was found to be infected. The average risk of encountering an infected nymph (entomologic risk index) ranged from 0.5 to 5.2 infected nymphs per hour. The highest entomological risk index was recorded from a small island park in northwestern Wisconsin during the last week in May (8.0 infected nymphs per hour). These results indicate a lower risk for human Lyme disease exposure in Wisconsin state parks in comparison with highly endemic areas of the northeastern United States.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1