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J Infect Dis. 2016 Jul 15;214(2):182-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv775. Epub 2016 Jan 5.

Effectiveness of Residential Acaricides to Prevent Lyme and Other Tick-borne Diseases in Humans.

Author information

1
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado.
2
Connecticut Emerging Infections Program, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven.
3
Western Connecticut State University, Danbury.
4
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore.
5
New York State Department of Health, Albany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In the northeastern United States, tick-borne diseases are a major public health concern. In controlled studies, a single springtime application of acaricide has been shown to kill 68%-100% of ticks. Although public health authorities recommend use of acaricides to control tick populations in yards, the effectiveness of these pesticides to prevent tick bites or human tick-borne diseases is unknown.

METHODS:

We conducted a 2-year, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial among 2727 households in 3 northeastern states. Households received a single springtime barrier application of bifenthrin or water according to recommended practices. Tick drags were conducted 3-4 weeks after treatment on 10% of properties. Information on human-tick encounters and tick-borne diseases was collected through monthly surveys; reports of illness were validated by medical record review.

RESULTS:

Although the abundance of questing ticks was significantly lower (63%) on acaricide-treated properties, there was no difference between treatment groups in human-tick encounters, self-reported tick-borne diseases, or medical-record-validated tick-borne diseases.

CONCLUSIONS:

Used as recommended, acaricide barrier sprays do not significantly reduce the household risk of tick exposure or incidence of tick-borne disease. Measures for preventing tick-borne diseases should be evaluated against human outcomes to confirm effectiveness.

KEYWORDS:

Lyme disease; acaricide; humans; pesticide; prevention; tick-borne diseases; ticks

PMID:
26740276
DOI:
10.1093/infdis/jiv775
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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