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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Oct;91(4):747-55. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.14-0181. Epub 2014 Jul 21.

Lyme disease risk influences human settlement in the wildland-urban interface: evidence from a longitudinal analysis of counties in the northeastern United States.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, and Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, California alarsen@lifesci.ucsb.edu.
2
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, and Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, California.

Abstract

The expansion of human settlement into wildland areas, including forests in the eastern United States, has resulted in fragmented forest habitat that has been shown to drive higher entomological risk for Lyme disease. We investigated an alternative pathway between fragmentation and Lyme disease, namely whether increased risk of Lyme disease results in a reduced propensity to settle in high-risk areas at the interface of developed and undeveloped lands. We used longitudinal data analyses at the county level to determine whether Lyme disease incidence (LDI) influences the proportion of the population residing in the wildland-urban interface in 12 high LDI states in the eastern United States. We found robust evidence that a higher LDI reduces the proportion of a county's population residing in the wildland-urban interface in high-LDI states. This study provides some of the first evidence of human behavioral responses to Lyme disease risk via settlement decisions.

PMID:
25048372
PMCID:
PMC4183398
DOI:
10.4269/ajtmh.14-0181
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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