Anthony Klingler and Jordan Assenmacher – Tracking down Lyme’s Disease in MI

Last week we headed up north to help fellow veterinary student, Jen Sidge with her Lyme disease surveillance project. Our goal was to identify and detect if Ixodes scapularis, the tick vector that carries the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi responsible for Lyme disease, is present at these locations. We did this by trapping chipmunks and white footed mice and checking them for tick larvae and nymphs. We then took skin biopsies to check for Borrelia infection and then tagged each animal. We also performed “tick drags,” where we collected adult ticks by dragging a corduroy sheet through the forest underbrush. We are hoping to use the data to detail tick migration along the west coast ofMichigan and to provide educational materials to warn the public about how potential exposure to ticks carrying lyme disease can be prevented.

Currently, Anthony is working with Mike Kaufman from MSU with Eastern Equine Encaphilitis (EEE) in Southwest Michigan. Traps are being placed in wetland sites near confirmed or suspected horse cases to collect Culiseta melanura, the mosquito vector that transmits the virus between birds. He is also contacting local veterinary offices to find any new EEE diagnosis in horses in the area

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