The purpose of this study was to describe the geographic distribution and model the ecological niche for Borrelia burgdorferi (Johnson, Schmidt, Hyde, Steigerwaldt & Brenner), Ixodes pacificus (Cooley & Kohls), and Ixodes angustus (Neumann), the bacterium and primary tick vectors for Lyme disease, in British Columbia (BC), Canada. We employed a landscape epidemiology approach using geographic information systems mapping and ecological niche modeling (Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction) to identify geographical areas of disease transmission risk. Forecasted optimal ecological niche areas for B. burgdorferi are focused along the coast of Vancouver Island, the southwestern coast of the BC mainland, and in valley systems of interior BC roughly along and below the N51° line of latitude. These findings have been used to increase public and physician awareness of Lyme disease risk, and prioritize future field sampling for ticks in BC.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1