there are many documents that concur that the whitetail deer are
not responsible for the Lyme Disease. Consequently, there are
many locations where there are no deer and the Lyme disease is
A lecture was given on
emerging pathogens, an infectious disease and zoonotics by a
microbiologist & epidemiologist expert at the NJ Department
of Health. A question asked was what the correlation between
deer population and Lyme disease is. She said there is NO
CORRELATION, and that if not deer, the ixodes
tick will find other hosts, namely the white footed mouse. She
says there is a high correlation between the larval and nymph
stages of the tick on mice and the incidence of the disease.
'hot zones' such as Hunterdon County, New Jersey, she said there
is no known reason
for the high incidence. There are no more ticks and no
increased numbers of the bacteria in the ticks. The incidence in
Hunterdon is 500 cases per 100,000 people, versus the rest of NJ
at 125 per 100,000. NJ is in the top 3 or 4 states in the U.S.
At the Aug. 5, 1993 Assembly Environment Committee, James
Blumenstock, Director of New Jersey Consumer Health Services,
spoke about Lyme disease. The following is a basic summary of
his main points: There is no significant relationship between
deer management, specifically population control efforts, and
the level of deer ticks and the incidence of Lyme disease for
the following reasons:
1. Nymphs, (a stage of the tick) which are responsible for most
of the cases, get their blood meals on the white-footed mouse,
not the deer.
2. Adult ticks will adapt if you reduce or remove deer from the
area, they will seek alternative hosts.
3. Environmental/ecological control efforts should be the focus
in reducing tick populations. Control the disease vector, rather
than the host.
Another important fact about Lyme disease comes from an article
in Consumers Reports: "Deprived of their usual hosts,
infected adult ticks become a more immediate nuisance, as
when deer on an island off Massachusetts were virtually
exterminated. Wandering ticks threatened the populace as they
searched for new hosts." (Consumers Reports June 1988)
WESTPORT, May 30 (Reuters Health) - American robins infected
with Lymes disease spirochetes are as infective to ticks as are
infected mice, the major reservoir for Lyme disease in the US.
The new finding suggests, "Robins may contribute to the
force of transmission of the agent of Lyme disease, because
these locally abundant birds are reservoir-competent and may be
infested by numerous larval ticks".
Dr. Dania Richter, of Universitat zu Berlin in Germany,
and colleagues speculate in the current issue of Emerging
Infectious Diseases, dated March-April.
Dr. Richter and colleagues found that robins quickly acquired
infection with Lyme disease spirochetes and became infective to
ticks soon after exposure. Although infectivity waned after only
2 months, robins were
susceptible to reinfection and could again transmit the
infectious agent to ticks.
addition, spirochetes passaged through birds retained
infectivity for mammalian hosts," the investigators report.
The findings indicate that American robins are a competent
reservoir for Lyme disease infection, Dr. Richter and colleagues
say. However, the importance of this species as a reservoir for
transmission "remains speculative."
Emerg Infect Dis 2000; 6:133-138.
The proper education of the
Lyme transmission is necessary to avoid misconception of this