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1 March 2012 Passive Surveillance for I. scapularis Ticks: Enhanced Analysis for Early Detection of Emerging Lyme Disease Risk
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Lyme disease (LD) is emerging in Canada because of the northward expansion of the geographic range of the tick vector Ixodes scapularis (Say). Early detection of emerging areas of LD risk is critical to public health responses, but the methods to do so on a local scale are lacking. Passive tick surveillance has operated in Canada since 1990 but this method lacks specificity for identifying areas where tick populations are established because of dispersion of ticks from established LD risk areas by migratory birds. Using data from 70 field sites in Quebec visited previously, we developed a logistic regression model for estimating the risk of I. scapularis population establishment based on the number of ticks submitted in passive surveillance and a model-derived environmental suitability index. Sensitivity-specificity plots were used to select an optimal threshold value of the linear predictor from the model as the signal for tick population establishment. This value was used to produce an “Alert Map” identifying areas where the passive surveillance data suggested ticks were establishing in Quebec. Alert Map predictions were validated by field surveillance at 76 sites: the prevalence of established I. scapularis populations was significantly greater in areas predicted as high-risk by the Alert map (29 out of 48) than in areas predicted as moderate-risk (4 out of 30) (P < 0.001). This study suggests that Alert Maps created using this approach can provide a usefully rapid and accurate tool for early identification of emerging areas of LD risk at a geographic scale appropriate for local disease control and prevention activities.

Jules K. Koffi, Patrick A. Leighton, Yann Pelcat, Louise Trudel, L. Robbin Lindsay, François Milord, and Nicholas H. Ogden "Passive Surveillance for I. scapularis Ticks: Enhanced Analysis for Early Detection of Emerging Lyme Disease Risk," Journal of Medical Entomology 49(2), 400-409, (1 March 2012).
Received: 26 September 2011; Accepted: 1 November 2011; Published: 1 March 2012

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