DANBURY — For greater than a decade, the Tickborne Illness Prevention Laboratory, or Tick Lab, at Western Connecticut State College has targeted on the prevention of Lyme and different infectious ailments transmitted by blacklegged ticks within the northeastern United States. Its objective is to assist residents keep away from sickness by managing tick populations and lowering danger of publicity to ticks.

In June, researchers from the WCSU Tick Lab recognized Asian longhorned ticks within the parking areas of Penfield Seaside and Jennings Seaside in Fairfield, and are advising city officers on mitigation methods.


The innovational lab’s most up-to-date analysis effort is a collaboration with the College of Rhode Island TickEncounter Useful resource Heart and was funded by the Facilities for Illness Management. The Deer Fence Tick Suppression Examine is evaluating whether or not deer fencing on single residential properties suppresses host-seeking blacklegged (Ixodes scapularis) ticks. WCSU biology college students are conducting the sphere work, analysis and assessment together with college.

“Lots of our lab’s research take a look at how tick-borne ailments may be prevented peridomestically, which means holding out of 1’s personal yard, by altering patterns of human conduct, interfering with the tick life cycle, or by managing the panorama,” mentioned Dr. Neeta Connally of WCSU’s Division of Organic and Environmental Sciences. “Our examine examines whether or not having a deer fence really reduces the variety of ticks discovered on residential properties,” she mentioned.

Connally, a medical entomologist, based and oversees the WCSU Tickborne Illness Prevention Laboratory, also referred to as the Tick Lab.

The Deer Fence Tick Suppression Examine evaluates the affect of deer fence on the abundance of blacklegged ticks by evaluating half- to six-acre residential properties with deer fence (remedies) to related properties with out deer fence controls in southwestern Connecticut, Westchester County, New York, and southern Rhode Island. Important to the sphere work is WCSU scholar participation. Since 2011, greater than 40 undergraduate college students have contributed to WCSU’s Tick Lab tasks. For this examine, Sophia Chiaia ’24 of Bethel, a WCSU undergraduate honors biology main, and Lin Vitarbo ’23 of Newtown, additionally a biology main, actively labored within the fields and labs throughout the fall of 2021 and once more this summer time.

“This examine is necessary as a result of excessive danger of tickborne ailments; if we will discover out that deer fences assist decrease the probabilities of tick populations it may assist hold households safer from coming into contact with ticks,” mentioned Vitarbo. She additionally hopes to discover a sample of information that would supply some perception into newer tick management and preventative measures for tick security for the general public.

Each Chiaia and Vitarbo traveled to completely different examine websites to pattern the amount and varieties of ticks discovered on the within fringe of the fencing, inside forest areas and out of doors the fence. The objective was to see if deer fencing makes an affect on tick amount versus unfenced yards.

Chiaia discovered “how harmful the yard can actually be, as the chance for tick publicity is extraordinarily excessive not solely within the woods however in individuals’s backyards.” She famous that this examine is so necessary to human well being and wellness since it’ll assist residents keep knowledgeable with what they’ll do to maintain themselves and their households protected. “Lyme illness instances proceed to rise. It is necessary all of us take the required precautions when going exterior, even simply exterior of our properties. This consists of doing tick checks, showering inside two hours of being exterior and carrying garments that cowl us effectively,” she mentioned.

In line with Connally, previous research discovered that the presence of residential fencing has been related to diminished Lyme illness danger (Connally et al. 2009), probably by stopping introduction of Ixodes scapularis ticks and lowering the density of host-seeking ticks. A 1993 examine of huge fenced areas of greater than six acres inside a non-public property in Westchester County, New York, confirmed 83% fewer I. scapularis nymphs current inside fenced areas in comparison with areas instantly exterior of deer fencing, however the affect of deer fencing on the density of host-seeking Ixodes scapularis ticks particularly at residential properties lower than six acres in measurement is unknown; that is what Connally’s examine hopes to find out, and she or he expects to share the examine’s outcomes by the top of summer time 2022.

“With this examine, we hope we to grasp the affect of deer fencing on the density of deer ticks in smaller residential properties – that means the CDC can inform residents what precautions to take when going exterior and of their yards. It will hopefully lower the publicity of deer ticks to people, particularly the smaller nymphs that may go undetected for longer durations of time and unfold the agent of Lyme illness,” scholar researcher Chiaia added.

Each scholar researchers indicated that they really feel lucky to take part within the “unbelievable alternatives” that WCSU affords biology college students and to be part of one thing so necessary and significant to human well being. “To me, biology is a superb profession path as a result of day by day I work towards advancing and serving to individuals by aiding in scientific analysis for the long run whereas additionally doing one thing I really like,” mentioned Vitarbo.

Within the jap United States, the blacklegged tick is the first vector of a number of human pathogens, together with people who trigger Lyme illness, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi illness and Powassan virus illness. Lyme illness alone is estimated by the CDC to account for practically 500,000 instances of human sickness yearly in the USA, with the overwhelming majority of instances occurring within the Northeast and Higher Midwest.

Research within the WCSU Tickborne Illness Prevention Laboratory have been funded by a number of companies, together with the CDC and the U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA). Tick Lab researchers collaborate on tickborne ecology and prevention tasks with a number of different educational, scientific, public well being and group companions, together with the City of Ridgefield Well being Division, Nuvance Well being, the CT Division of Public Well being, the CT Rising Infections Program at Yale, the CDC Division of Vector-Borne Illness, the TickEncounter Useful resource Heart on the College of Rhode Island, and a number of other regional land trusts and environmental advocacy teams.

To study extra about WCSU’s Tickborne Illness Prevention Laboratory and undergraduate Biology and M.S. in Integrative Organic Variety packages, go to www.wcsu.edu/biology/ or contact WCSU Public Relations at pr@wcsu.edu



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